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Coming this summer, a new Birds Canada podcast – The Warblers! Featuring interesting guests sharing information and inspiration about birds and bird conservation in Canada. Subscribe today on Spotify, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you find your favourite podcasts.

For now, you can get to know our hosts: Andrés Jiménez and Andrea Gress (the A team!).

Andrés is a Costa Rican tropical biologist who has worked in conservation since he was 15 years old. Currently, he’s the Urban Program Coordinator for Birds Canada based in Toronto. To this day, he wonders how he went from a tropical beach to -30-degree winters.

Andrea is a born and raised Saskatchewanian, who jumped from one odd job to the next (for example, working on an Australia cherry farm and as a kayak guide in Vietnam), before realizing that Piping Plover conservation is where all the fun is. She is now the Ontario Piping Plover Conservation Coordinator for Birds Canada.

Here are their answers to some really important questions:

Favourite bird?

Andrea: During a shorebird internship in South Africa, one of my tasks was to observe White-fronted Plover nests for two hours, recording all disturbances. We had to observe the nest from a location where the incubating bird didn’t realize we were watching it … which probably sounds easy enough, but this one male had us figured out. We tried observing the nest from all possible vantage points, and he’d follow us everywhere we went. It was an impossible task. He was utterly unwilling to let the paparazzi spy on his nest. That specific individual will always be one of my favourites.

Andrés: I have not had the privilege of such a deep relationship with an individual bird, but I can say that I am mystified by the Ruby-throated Hummingbird. A bird that has to double its weight to cross the Gulf of Mexico in continuous flight, flapping its wings 50 times per second. The resiliency, determination, and grit are something that deeply inspires me. I dream of being like a Ruby-throated Hummingbird, and I can’t help but think my arrival to Canada draws from that story. I saw it first in my garden in Costa Rica, in August, a month before I landed in Canada, and I saw it next in Toronto. Maybe it was the same bird.

What’s your ideal day?

Andrea: Physically exhaust myself (rock climbing, cycling, or hiking), followed by good food and company around a fire.

Andrés: I would be fooling myself if a lifer was not part of my ideal day. I would say: new snake, new bird, or new amphibian, in a location where I feel at peace, with the smell of tree resin, fresh rain, and a warm breeze, laying on the ground after exploring all day long; including a night hike by the river.

Favourite food?

Andrea: Pizza. Homemade or wood-fired preferred, but if you hand me a cheap slice from your local place, I’m not going to complain!

Andrés: I can’t help but agree with Andrea. Pizza is a gift of the universe. In any form or shape but … not Hawaiian.


Why a podcast?

Andrea: No matter where you are in Canada, there are so many incredible people working to improve the lives of birds, through innovative and inspiring methods, but also through simple, close-to-home actions. The Birds Canada network helps us connect with these stories and the people involved. Andrés is like a kid in a candy shop when talking to new people about new discoveries. His enthusiasm is infectious! I’m super excited to dig into those stories with him.

Andrés: This past year has demonstrated an incredible thirst for Canadian nature information. Response to our online webinars and courses has been amazing. Surveys of participants tell us we need to provide more! A podcast will help us quench this thirst. My experience hosting a radio program in Costa Rica has been helpful as we explored the possibility. Andrea’s approach to always learning more and experiencing everything to the max make our interviews so much fun!

The challenges we confront are so daunting and exhausting they can lead us into inaction and motivation famine. When we tell empowering narratives through an emotional, accessible medium as powerful as sound, we can make hope attainable, and with hope comes the grit to make the world recover and flourish. I aim to produce and tell stories that empower and bring us to action.

The Warblers is proudly supported by Feather Friendly. Birds can’t see glass, and millions die each year because of window collisions. You can save dozens of birds by treating your windows with Feather Friendly’s DIY kit or their Commercial Solution for large projects.

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