Seven Names for the Bellbird: Conservation Geography in Honduras
Offering intimate and unforgettable descriptions of the birds and people that inhabit Honduran landscapes, Seven Names for the Bellbird showcases the deep-rooted local traditions of bird appreciation and holds them up as a model for sound management of the environment. Through his appreciative recounting of local lore, author Mark Bonta makes the interaction between culture and avifauna in Latin America a key to better understanding the practice of biodiversity protection. He makes a significant contribution to the scarce anthropological and geographical literature on human-environment relationships in Central America and also provides wonderful stories of native birds and their human observers.
After a decade in the field in Honduras, Mark Bonta came to realize that, contrary to outsiders’ general beliefs, the society he observed was predisposed “to like birds, to observe birds, to weave them into folklore, and to protect them on private property.” Bonta argues that if North Americans and Europeans paid real attention to local knowledge and practice—instead of condemning them out-of-hand and imposing new beliefs and techniques—they would learn that rural cultures offer alternative ways of accommodating habitats and wildlife.
Bonta uses the concept of “conservation geography”—the study of human beings and their landscapes, with natural resource conservation in the forefront—to advance his argument. He describes many cases where local individuals and their traditional knowledge of birds contribute to a de facto variety of bird conservation that precedes or parallels “official” bird protection efforts.
This book is not offered as “proof” that all birds have happy futures in the Neotropics. Bonta recognizes the ravages of both human pressures and natural disasters on the birds and forests. But he shows that in many instances, birds are safe and even thrive in the presence of local people, who “celebrate them just as often as they persecute them.”
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Agua Buena Aguan Aguilar Paz areas avian avifauna Bellbird biodiversity birds Blue-gray Tanager Boqueron cacao calls Catacamas cattle Central America central Olancho Clara Clay-colored Robin cloud forest coffee farms common conservationists Crested cucarachero culture Dona Clara's farmers fauna feathers flocks Flycatcher folklore Francisco Urbina gavildn geographer Golden-cheeked Warbler golondrina Gualaco habitat Hawk Heron Honduran Emerald Honduras human Hummingbird hunting Juticalpa La Venta land landscape lechuza Lucita Macaw Melodious Blackbird Mendoza montana Montana de Babilonia Motmot names Neotropical nest Northern Olanchanos Olancho old-growth onomatopoeic Ornithophilia Ortega pajaral paloma Parakeet Parque Nacional Sierra Parrot pastures pdjaro pichiches pine forests plains protected quetzal rain forest ranch ranchers raptors Red-throated Caracara savannas season serrania Sierra de Agalta slopes Spanish Sparrow species Tanager terratenientes thorn forest town trees Trogon tropical Valle de Agalta Valle de Olancho Venta village Vireo White-crowned Parrot Woodcreeper Woodpecker woods Wren zopilote zorzal