Hey! Have you ever seen those videos of ducklings that jump from trees way high up as they leave the nest? And when they land on the ground below, it turns out that they are A-okay! Well, this is how a tall young man from Anaheim, California, felt when he drove miles down south to begin his training in San Diego. Excitement! Fear! Excitement again! Was he ready for this? Well, he just graduated back in May and he decided to help and learn more about birds afterwards, as it was his dream to be one with the birds. The way that birds take flight and go the distance, overcoming just about any obstacle, is simply inspiring and that was the motivation to help this young man jump into a bigger world!

As you might have guessed already, that TALL young man is me. My name is Christian Cortez and birds have been one of my largest passions since I was just a boy. Thus, I chose to focus my knowledge and dedication on our feathery friends. It is easy to believe that birds can overcome simply anything through flight, but treating birds at the International Bird Rescue Center has given me the realization that birds need our help, perhaps now more than ever. But how can we as a community help? Thankfully enough, there’s a non-profit organization from Colorado called Environment for the Americas (EFTA) who’s mission at heart is to not only connect diverse public and scientific communities together, but also to build a bridge between the people and the birds! The more we know and are aware about the birds, the better we can help them out!

My goal, as an intern, is to become that bridge-builder. Community outreach, education, and conservation involvement are some of the best ways to support our own feathery friends, especially during their long and tiresome migrations. In San Diego, we have learned from some of the most wonderful people, such as Isabel who was a previous intern for EFTA. They themselves inspired us to become the voice for birds in places far away. Not only was training a great opportunity to learn about shorebirds, communities, and what we can do, but also a moment to bond and befriend my fellow interns as we strive for a common cause. So, finally, here I am in Newport, Oregon, as an EFTA intern working with the Bureau of Land Management at the Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area!

Its with immense gratitude that I have the opportunity to make a difference. So… all that fear from jumping into a larger world? Turns out I’m A-okay.

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