Monday, June 8, 2009

Introducing Victor Hugo Valencia - Bird Guide Extraordinaire

Victor Hugo Valencia

I have mentioned, and will be mentioning more often, Victor Hugo Valencia. I didn't meet him through birding; he came to us because we needed a good tile setter and several people recommended him to us. When he toured our house and discussed our needs, he interjected the conversation to ask me if I liked birds. At the time, I thought this an odd thing to ask and assumed someone had told him that if he simply talked about birds, he'd get the job. After all, everyone around here knows that I am nuts about birds and birding.

Well, for Hugo, birds are also his passion. He came to work the next day with binoculars in hand as well as a National Geographic field guide, both unusual items for residents of this area. During lunch hours, he often can be found with one of my many bird books.

He has become my birding pal and co-guide of the Patzcuaro Bird Guides. His skills are quite exceptional, especially his knowledge of local birding locations, command of the English language, and birding by ear. Moreover, there are few who can match his ability to find a bird.

In his own words, here is his introduction:

Hi, my name is Victor Hugo Valencia Alberto, but most people know me by Hugo. I am from the small town of Erongaricuaro, Michoacan, Mexico. In Purhepecha language, Erongaricuaro means "place for waiting." I married Lupe who is also from Eronga. We have a beautiful little girl named Mariana. She is four years old. Now my wife is expecting our second child.

I love my family so much. I am teaching Mariana about birds, like my father used to do with me. He used to take me fishing and camping in the mountains when I was young. This is why I love Mother Nature and am curious about birds. Having this opportunity to be a bird guide is a dream come true. I feel so lucky to meet the great persons Georgia and Chuck Conti. She has become my teacher. I want to thank her very much for helping me and showing me more about birds.

Well, this is my history. We will be so happy to take you out birding and have a good time.

Hugo doing what comes natural: helping someone get on a bird.
Photo taken at a recent outing of the Patzcuaro Bird Club.

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