What is one of your favorite bird families or species and why?
White-tailed Tropicbirds. For its elegance and peaceful flying over the ocean and near the cliffs in Cueva del Indio (Indian Cave).
What is one of your favorite birding locations?
I need to mention two. First is Cueva del Indio. Watching the peaceful tropicbirds as I said (plus Bridled Terns) with the sound of the ocean -- not only is great to watch these birds, it's a great meditation point I use. Second is Añasco river mouth on the west coast of PR. Great spot for not just the common species of terns, gulls or shorebirds, but also some rare ones from these families can be seen.
Can you describe the experience or "spark" bird that first got you hooked on birding?
In my first activity with the Puerto Rican Ornithological Society (SOPI) in Toro Negro State Forest, early in the morning before other birders arrived, with my mentor Sergio Colón, I spotted a rare Black-throated Green Warbler (a rare visitor to PR). That bird sparked my growing curiosity in birding, especially when we met the other birders later and they were jealous. I notice instanly things we can do for the birds reporting that kind of data. That was right after my first ever birding day in the Christmas Bird Count in the water treatment plant I work on those days.
Describe any exciting projects or programs in which you've been involved?
Because of my interest in terns, I photographed a color banded Roseate Tern from the NE Atlantic population here in PR. The director of the Great Gull Island project, Helen Hays, invited me to band Common and Roseate Terns. An amazing experience!
I was the president of SOPI (Sociedad Ornitológica Puertorriqueña, Inc.) last year. Now I’m the graphic editor of the SOPI journal "El Bienteveo" and am also SOPI’s web master. For the last five years I have been organizing the SOPI bird photography contest. Now I’m creating a web page for the Caño Tiburones IBA to reach more people with the info of this special reserve.
What do you believe is currently one of the most important avian conservation issues?
Hunting. In PR it's so sad to see, yes, see hunting in reserves where it is not permited and see the rangers doing nothing. Many of the hunters are rangers! There’s many species of ducks coming to PR each year, but the numbers do not justify hunting. I know many reserves were created by hunters in US, but in PR thats not the case. Here we fight against the thirsty for kill just for fun... sport, they said.
The lack of bird education in the general population in PR. I offer talks, workshops and events related to birds. It seems promising that more people are becoming interested in birds or conservation of their habitats.
What is a fun fact about yourself that many people may not know?
Sometimes I laugh when this happens to me... I consider myself a very good guide and good at identifying birds by their song as much by their behavior and shape. But a funny thing happens when birders ask some of their characteristics or field marks. For some reason, and I can only blame the fact that not necessarily learned by reading the guides, I cannot always answer with absolute clarity or certainty, I just 'know'.