Birder News from Costa Rica Hits Close to the Heart

Ernesto and Ela

I mentioned in an earlier post that I had been in Costa Rica a few years ago for 9 days on a citizen scientist expedition to support the study of the Ruby-throated Hummingbird in its wintering grounds.  On that trip I met Ernesto Carman, Jr., our in-country birding guide (a  dual American & Costa Rican citizen) and his fiancée, Elaida Villanueva Mayorga, also a birding expert.  The two have since married and kept our expedition group up to date on their continuing birding success.

A couple of months ago, however, we received word from our study expedition leader, naturalist Bill Hilton, Jr., that Ela had undergone cranial surgery to remove a brain tumor.  Now she faces chemo and radiation therapy.  Ela is a beautiful young woman and Ernesto an obviously devoted mate.  At Bill’s request, alumni of many of his Operation Ruby Throat field study expeditions sent checks for a special fund he set up to help defray some of the costs of medical care and replace some of the income lost from their principal occupation, leading exotic birding tours, while Ela is in therapy and recovering. 

Today I received an email from Bill letting the Operation Ruby Throat alumni contributors know that he had personally delivered a check to Ernesto and Ela and extend their heart-felt thanks and intentions to contact us individually.

It’s funny how we never know where our next opportunity to help someone will come from.  That we cannot imagine where we will next cross the path of a perfect stranger with whom we will form a strong bond.  In this case, the opportunity to meet many wonderful fellow expedition travelers and form continuing relationships started with my first purchase of a bird feeder with money given to me as a special gift.  The good that goes around does get paid back – or paid forward – however you want to think about it.

Today’s news from Costa Rica hit close to the heart.

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One Response to Birder News from Costa Rica Hits Close to the Heart

  1. In my opinion Costa Rica is the ideal bird watcher location, the central mountain and the Osa Region… in my opinion one best unexplored areas in the world to see beautiful birds.

    Most of the Hotels in here are very affordable in Costa Rica and that is very good news for the traveler…

    I want also suggest that it might be a good idea to publish information about what not to do when you are in Costa Rica like for example not to venture into the Jungle or a Volcano summit without a guide and in case you do to have plan in case of an emergency …I have see some expats trying to do this without measuring the consequences or their safety…Just because you are the Indiana Jones of the Midwest it does not mean you can be one in Costa Rica…many tourist died every year here because of their imprudence or lack of information.
    Once again great blog keep the good work I will recommend it to my friends and visitors.

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