#17: Alvaro Jaramillo – Birding Your Best Life

#17: Alvaro Jaramillo – Birding Your Best Life Nature's Archive

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My guest today is Alvaro Jaramillo. Alvaro is a highly regarded ornithologist and birder with a long list of authored books and published papers. Born in Chile, raised in Canada, he’s lived in California for the last several years where he operates “Alvaro’s Adventures”, a birding-centric tour company that specializes in combining birding with local cultures across the globe.

Alvaro has a BS in Zoology and a masters in Evolutionary Biology, and is an affiliated senior biologist with the San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory. Alvaro has a wealth of world-wide birding knowledge, is a contributor to Bird Watcher’s Digest, and actively engages in many birding forums. He even helped to identify a new bird species, Oceanites pincoyae (Pincoya Storm-Petrel), found in Chile.

In today’s episode we discuss how Alvaro developed his interest in birds. From authoring his guide to New World Blackbirds, to a fortuitous encounter in Canada that led him to the world of arranging and guiding tours, it is clear the avian adventures were a calling for Alvaro.

Alvaro Jaramillo

We discuss the origins of Alvaro’s Adventures, and some of his amazing global trips, such as his annual journey to Bhutan. And check out his Birds and Wine trip to Chile and Argentina as another great example. 

We also talk about pelagic birding – he leads numerous pelagic trips in Northern California each year. If you are unaware of pelagic voyages, they take you far offshore onto the ocean to look for bird species that are next to impossible to see from land. And if that weren’t fun enough, you’ll often encounter whales, porpoises, sunfish, and many other amazing oceanic creatures.

We discuss the groundbreaking impact his Birds of Chile guide had on accelerating Chile’s birding evolution.

After a couple decades of engaging with the public in these capacities, he also has a lot of insight into helping people interpret, enjoy, and see the value of nature – and he offers a few tips and approaches that we can all use.

And while COVID-19 has been challenging, he has turned it into an opportunity to increase his outreach. In addition to many in-depth online workshops, he’s launching a new subscription based online birding community, called “Birding Your Best Life”. Its primary goal is to help people enjoy birds more, regardless of their circumstances and goals. It will include discussion communities, equipment reviews, video tutorials, and much more. As you’ll hear, he has big plans – you can sign up here to be notified of progress. You can also find Alvaro on his website and on Facebook.

Links To Topics Discussed

People and Organizations

In alphabetical order

Birdwatchers Digest – Alvaro has written for this publications for many years

National Audubon Society

Colombian Audubon

Debi Shearwater – Alvaro mentioned being a spotter with Debi Shearwater, the well known pelagic leader in Northern California.

Eagle Eye Tours – Canadian tour company Alvaro helped start – this is where Alvaro got his start leading and organizing birding tours

Field Guides – the larger tour company Alvaro joined after Eagle Eye Tours

Books and Other Things

Bhutan – Alvaro has an amazing trip to Bhutan, and we talked about the amazing centuries old Dzong Architecture, the culture and the fact that they optimize for and measure “Gross National Happiness“, and their highly successful “zero death” policy to COVID, despite being a tourism-centric economy.

Birds of Chile – the field guide Alvaro, Peter Burke, David Beadle created that helped accelerate Chilean birding.

New World Blackbirds – Alvaro’s distraction from his PhD.

Music Credits

Opening – Fearless First by Kevin MacLoed

Closing – Beauty Flow by Kevin MacLoed

Both can be obtained from https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/

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