At the Mic: William Orellana
My name is William Orellana, an I am a birding guide from Gracias Lempira, Honduras. In 2005 my foster mom and Peace Corps volunteer Abigail Terrones gave me the ‘Guide to the Birds of Mexico and Northern Central America’ for my birthday. That book turned out to be a life-changer. I was getting interested in knowing the birds in my area, mainly in wonderful Celaque National Park, and her belief in me encouraged me to go out exploring and photographing the beauty I saw. People thought I was crazy, running around the forest instead of finding a ‘decent’ job. But I did not let that get to me. Instead, I took birdwatching courses and worked as a local guide. I expanded my explorations to other parts of the country, discovering Honduras’ best birding spots: the stunning Lake Yojoa, the lush rainforest on the north coast, the highlands, the cloud forest, and the sheer impenetrable jungle of La Moskítia.
One day when I took out the Benzen family from Germany, they incited me to start my own birding company. So when I met Katinka Domen a few months later, we decided to set up Beaks and Peaks, a small company offering authentic birdwatching and nature experiences, focusing on sustainability and conservation. At the same time the Honduran government and USAID took an interest in avitourism too, sending us to several international fairs to promote this stunning new birdwatching destination. All pieces began to fall into place.
I had heard a lot about James Adams and his great work at the Lodge at Pico Bonito, and have had the pleasure of guiding some of his guests around the country. So when he invited me as a local guide for the Honduras for Conservation Tour, I was honored to accept. It will be a grand event for sharing the richness of avitourism and work that is being dome for conservation in our country.
Exactly 10 years after Abigail gave me my first bird book, I had the amazing opportunity to meet the author, Steve Howell. The circle is complete… but does not end. I will keep birding, guiding and trying to protect my beautiful Honduras, and I hope I will see you in November, 2016 at The Honduras Birding for Conservation Tour!
William Orellana and his partner Katinka Domen run their own tour operator called Beaks and Peaks Birding and Adventure Tours, offering bird watching trips and active holidays to all four corners of Honduras, all the while contributing to the development of local communities and the protection of Honduras’ natural resources. Beaks and Peaks is an active member of the Honduran Ornithology Association (ASHO) and member of the American Birding Association (ABA).
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