Updated: May 11, 2022
By Gail Koelln and Dr. Sylvia Margarita de la Parra Martínez
One Earth Conservation’s Board of Directors is excited to announce that we recently hired a much-needed part-time Parrot Conservation Project Manager Assistant, who will support LoraKim’s field work and research activities. Please give a warm welcome to Dr. Sylvia Margarita de la Parra Martínez, who lives in Mexico. Sylvia also works part-time at Tecmilenio University, Campus Culiacán and has conducted many research projects related to parrot conservation. I recently interviewed Sylvia to learn more about her, as well as her experience with parrots.
How did you become interested in parrots and parrot conservation?
I became interested in parrots when I had the opportunity to participate in 2005 in a collaborative research project to evaluate the conservation status of psittacines (i.e. birds in the parrot family) along the Pacific coast of Mexico. With this opportunity, I was able to discover my great interest in ornithology and become fascinated with parrots and the tropical dry forest. After that I could not stop and I knew I wanted to be a scientist, study parrots and do all I can for threatened parrot species.
Do you have a favorite parrot species? If so, why?
I do not have a favorite parrot species. I think all the species are beautiful, each in its own particular way, and I love their colors, what they do, their behaviors and their specific characteristics. I equally love working with and studying the large- and medium-sized species, like the Lilac crowned parrot (Amazona finschi) and the Military Macaw (Ara militaris). I worked with Lilac crowned parrot chicks during the nesting season and it was amazing to watch the chicks develop until they were ready to leave the nest. With the macaws, I learned a lot about them and about the forest, because I was more focused on ecology and conservation issues. I spent time evaluating the ecological requirements of this species, such as their nesting habits, food preferences and habitat requirements.
(photo credit: Raul654 on Wikimedia Commons)
Can you talk a little bit about being a biology professor in Mexico?
I am not a biology professor. Currently I am an advisor of biology students at the college graduate level. Working with these students has been a very interesting experience and at the same time it has been a challenge for me to develop my advisory skills while also working as a researcher. It is also very gratifying to see that some students are interested in generating information that focuses on the study and conservation of parrots.
Can you tell us something personal about yourself that you would like to share?
I am as passionate about the field of parrot conservation today as when I first started over 17 years ago.
We know you like field work. Can you talk about what you like about it?
Since I began my career and started to work more formally in the field developing my research projects, I found it seems like an infinite space where I am able to observe many wonderful things. I always enjoy thinking about what every new day will show me. The forest always offers something interesting, it always gives answers and raises questions at the same time. When I have the opportunity to do field work, I realize that I am a part of nature and this allows me to develop what I enjoy, from creating a new research method or technique to observing parrot and plant species to working with a variety of people. It is an interesting world where my passion for the study and conservation of parrots are expressed.
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
I will always support the study and conservation of birds and I think working for One Earth Conservation is a great opportunity for me to continue to contribute to the conservation of parrots. I also look forward to doing my part to make a better world and increase awareness of everything we all have to do to achieve this.