My Final Migration

Hello, everyone! I’m happy to see you come back again to read about what’s been going in Newport. I’m sorry to say that this is my final farewell! I am writing this post from Anaheim, CA, my own hometown. My time with Yaquina Head and the folks of Oregon State University has come to an end, and so much has happened since! Finally, I found the time to reflect on my days in Oregon.

 

It was a daunting, yet thrilling experience to begin my internship with the Environment for the Americas. I wanted to spend my time with the birds, as well as bring that connection to other people. I was so grateful to learn surveying shorebirds in San Diego. Shorebirds have never been my expertise, and they can be pretty difficult to tell apart during their winter plumage! I wanted to conduct surveys for the advancement of their conservation, and so I was relieved to have been given the time to practice my identification skills. Meeting the other interns, young educated men and women of Hispanic/Latino heritage who focused their works and efforts in conservation and interpretation, made me feel like I was part of a family… I was not alone. Although we come from so many different cities and states, going to far away places, we were a team!

 

Even though I was far away from home, from all my friends and family, I found a new group of people to welcome me! Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area has some of the most beloved people in the world. Meredith, my supervisor, would check up on me, making sure I was doing well while Chris, my mentor, would lend a hand at any time and tell me tales of his past! Everyone has a heart of gold, a trait I will carry with me back home. The area continues to be the Bureau of Land Management’s most popular spot in the state of Oregon, and for good reasons! The tide pools have been exciting, the tallest lighthouse on the Oregon coast still shining its signature light, and the sea birds continue to return. I was lucky to oversee their status, especially the Common murres. After years of reproductive failure the murres finally stood their ground, braving predators and rough weather to bring a new generation of Common murres to the Pacific Ocean!

 

Setting up the event for World Migratory Bird Day has been a stressful, yet rewarding task. Who knew that planning an event could take so much work?! It was definitely a learning experience for me! After several hours of preparations and planning, World Migratory Bird Day came to bloom and welcome over 400 guests! With games and activities for children and families, everyone got the opportunity to learn about shorebird conservation and the importance of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. My absolute favorite part was interpreting for a Hispanic family. Their excitement and awe at the birds of Yaquina Head was worth all the effort. There really is a need for interpretation for the Hispanic community. It is, perhaps, the first important step towards our path to a greater appreciation for the natural world.

 

With interpretation on one hand came the need for research on the other. I’ve monitored and surveyed several seabirds across Lincoln County to record their reproductive success along the coast. This experience, no matter the weather or the time, has been amazing in observing their chicks grow and fledge. It’s certainly been a skill to carry over for many other projects and works to come. I have also enjoyed my time surveying the shorebirds that land to rest on the tidal mudflats of Yaquina Bay. Every time was a surprise, not knowing what species I’ll see or how many will arrive. I am happy to know that the work I’ve put into the surveys would be useful to plan for the conservation of many shorebird species in the future.

 

I hope to carry that same work in the future as well. Many birds need our help during times of growing environmental concerns. Perhaps one day I’ll make another migration to help the birds there as well, and talk about the need for our aid. It is our feathery friends that have inspired me to go above and beyond, after all! I have to thank the team at Yaquina Head and the Seabird Oceanography Lab for all their work and efforts to make me be a part of their family. I wish to see them again, some day! Most of all, I’d like to thank EFTA for this wonderful opportunity I’ve been given. Even though we have parted ways, focus on the birds and the community will stick with me forever! Finally, a sincere thank you to YOU, for taking interest in my words and reading about my experience. We’ve truly had some great moments together!

 

Until then… ¡Hasta Luego!

Christian Cortez
[email protected]
2 Comments
  • Meredith Matherly

    Only just getting around to reading the rest of these from your time here and we sure miss you already! Thanks for being the best 🙂

    September 16, 2018 at 11:24 am
  • Your enthusiasm and heart-felt stories of peregrines, murres, the other wildlife of Yaquina Head truly connected visitors with the resource both cognitively and emotionally . Thank you for sharing them with us and the visitors. 🙂

    September 17, 2018 at 2:37 pm
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