Jorge Eduardo Ruano, December 2018 eBirder of the Month

By Team eBird February 8, 2019

Please join us in congratulating Jorge Eduardo Ruano of Orange Walk Belize, winner of the December 2018 eBird Challenge, sponsored by Carl Zeiss Sports Optics. Jorge’s name was drawn randomly from 13,200 eBirders who submitted at least 3 eligible eBird checklists in a single day in December. Jorge will receive a new ZEISS Conquest HD 8×42 binocular for his eBirding efforts. Here’s Jorge’s birding story:

As a kid, birding was never something that caught my attention since playing marbles and football were the highlights of my life. Later, high school and college days started building me for the near future with computer science skills that I have never used for a job.

After getting a temporary job at Lamanai Outpost Lodge, by chance, I started breaking rock with hammers, digging trenches, and chopping with machetes.  A couple months later I was called in to form part of the crew but working as a receptionist was not what I was hoping for. Therefore, a few weeks after being incarcerated by four walls, I deliberately started to do mistakes to get out of there. Luckily, thereafter, I was given the opportunity to start guiding where I started birding as required for work. With no birding experience, I took the challenge to learn about birds and birdcalls, but it was not easy when all you see and hear are birds of different sizes, feathers of different colours, and sounds of different tones.  And after some time of pure dedication and determination, everything started to make sense when the pieces of the birding puzzle started to come together.

A couple years later, a birder by the name of Roni Martinez spoke to me about eBird and didn’t pay much attention as I didn’t really understand how beneficial it would be for my future birding career, but now on a regular basis I try to submit at least 3 checklists a day as I see the importance of the data that we submit.

I look back in my life and realize that I never thought of spending so much time looking at feathery puff balls of mass.  Now I laugh at myself especially after seeing that everything about birding started by chance because of work, but then turned out as a hobby, that later continued as a passion, and surely ended up as an obsession.