Birding & Wildlife Guide
Rodrigo was born in Santiago, but moved to the countryside in the Maipo Valley, where he lives with his wife and daughters. He is a veterinarian by profession, but a naturalist by choice, combining guiding with activities in the fields of environmental impact assessments and ornithological research.
He has traveled throughout most of the rural areas of Chile over the last 10 years, becoming an experienced local guide. Rodrigo has a deep knowledge of all of Chile's wildlife, but has a particular interest in birds. He has a Masters degree in wilderness conservation and is currently co-leading, as part of the main Chilean birdwatching NGO (ROC), a research and conservation project for three Strom-petrel species (Elliot's, Hornbyi's and Markham's), which where recently discovered to breed in the Atacama Desert, the most arid place in the world. As an environmental consultant he leads bird and bat monitoring programs on wind farms and power lines.
In 2015 he made his first overseas trip, traveling across Southeast Asia with family and friends for six months. He recently made a second one, attending the American Birding Expo in Philadelphia. This experiences has allowed Rodrigo to take stock in the singularities of his country. He is glad and proud to share them with our passengers. Beyond birds, he is a good travel partner and will help you experience the best of Chilean culture – its landscapes, food, and, of course, wine!
Rodrigo has been guiding for Albatross since 2012 and is currently one of our main guides, leading private and group tours all over the country. He has also led tour extensions for Wings and co-led for Field Guides.
Everyone, from hardcore birders to relaxed nature-lovers, can expect a trip according to their interests and pace, plus a friendly, dedicated and experienced guide when traveling with Rodrigo.
Find out more about the guide
When did your interest in birds and wildlife begin?
I started paying attention to birds around 2005, when I was 19-20. Since then, I gradually got closer to nature, until I was involved "full time" as early as 2008.
Why did you decide to work as a birding and wildlife guide?
Because it is a job that allows me to be in the field, see birds and share with good and interesting people. It is also a flexible job, but provides some structure and schedule.
What do you enjoy the most of guiding a tour?
Going back to sites and seeing how things change season after season. Also the opportunity to spend time in the field watching birds.
What tour would you recommend for a visit to Chile?
That will depend a lot on the visitor's profile and previous experiences (or future trips). For a short visit, a day in the mountains and a day in the Humboldt Current (if you're a man of the sea, of course). With a little more time, a trip to the Atacama desert or Patagonia.
Which is your favorite species? And why?
White-bridled Finch, because I miss birding in Patagonia.
Are you involved in any research or conservation projects?
Yes. I actively participate in the ROC's Atacama Desert Storm-petrels project, which is a natural history and conservation project working with the Storm-petrels that nest in the world's driest desert.
What do you do when you are not guiding?
I spend many hours typing on the computer. But luckily I live in a rural area, so I can see some birds every day or enjoy the landscape. I am also a father, husband and amateur horticulturist.
What dish or drink would your recommend visitors to try?
A warm cup of coffee up in the Yeso Valley.
Tell us a little about the Atacama Desert Storm-petrels project
There is a group of petrels endemic to the Humboldt Current for which, until a couple of years ago, practically nothing was known about their reproduction. Today we know that 4 species of Storm-petrels nest in huge colonies in the Atacama desert, up to 70 km inland. Along with these discoveries, we learned of a number of threats that affect them, such as light pollution and threats to breeding grounds. Currently the project focuses on promoting the conservation of these species through the creation of protected areas and mitigation of the main threats.
Why did you decide to live in the mountains?
It was quite fortuitous, to tell you the truth. But today I would not change it for anything. The chance to experience a rural environment on a daily basis is fantastic.
Why did you decide to study veterinary sciences?
I actually wanted to study psychology, but I filled in the forms incorrectly.
What do you enjoy the most about outdoor living?
The chance to experience the world through my senses.
¿Wine or beer?
During the austral winter, beer. During the austral summer, also beer.