We are Güero Bird Club. We go birding. Güero is a torta shop in Portland, OR. Our bird club formed when we realized that a cook and a bartender both loved to watch birds and that other cooks and other bartenders wanted to learn more about this nerdy and cute hobby. From there, we figured - why not invite everyone?! A huevo :)
Can you tell us a bit about yourselves?
Our two founding falcons are Greg and Audrey. Greg is a biologist and wine connoisseur from New York. He started birding when he was 14 in wild NYC parks. Audrey is the kitchen manager and likes to go rock climbing and read books. She’s been a birder since 2011 after taking a class at SUNY Binghamton (go bearcats). The cool thing about GBC is that it brought their shared passion for birds into their “work.”
Do you find that these passions blend, merge, or complement your work?
The thing about birding is that it goes with anything. No matter what else you do, throw some birdtime into your week, and it’ll round you out. In the kitchen, speed is essential - so taking time to slow way down while walking among the birds is a rejuvenation. When it’s time to return to the line, to the tickets that keep printing, to the hot grill and sizzling onions, accessing that birdcalm can help you balance and manage what seems like chaos. Plus, we’ve learned from the birds: always whistle while you work — or sing really, really loud. Yea.
What are your materials, and how do you think about them?
Bread, mayonnaise, jalapenos, onions, limes, cilantro, pork, beans, knives, and a plancha. There are other secret ingredients we can’t tell you about. Each part gets whatever special attention it needs to do its best work in our final product: a really good sandwich. Most important may be our bread, fluffy and fresh from Veracruz Bay Bakery. We like the metaphor, “food is a bridge.”
Do you have any “heroes’ to speak of? How are you inspired?
We are inspired by other clubs and groups who are creating DIY communities around birding or being outside, like Feminist Bird Club in NY and Wild Diversity in Portland. Also, shout out to Greg’s first club: Kings County Bird Club and Aud’s mentors, Dr. Julian Shepherd and Dr. Dick Andrus. Of course, the champion of cultivating gentle curiosity, Sir David Attenborough. The top dog. We aspire to be as inspiring as he.
A key ingredient to building a sustainable future?
Regulating Big Meat.
A book that shaped your life?
- The Sibley Field Guide to Birds of North America
- The OG Peterson’s Guide to Birds of North America
- Blood, Bones, and Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton
Favorite artist currently?
Bad Bunny, Remi Wolf, Omar Apollo, and Los Bukis. We also love the paintings of Maja Dlugolecki and the speculative design of Grace Mervin.
Most sublime moment in nature?
From Greg’s diary: A thing I saw working on an island off the coast of San Francisco… towards the end of the breeding season, the chicks of the common murre fledge, but they can’t yet fly. They have to get from their nests high up on the seaside cliffs to the murre dads who wait in the vast ocean below, egging them on. These chicks boldly jump in, a soft speck freefalling into the Pacific ocean, gliding like cotton poofs to join their papas. Together, they will spend the winter in the water learning how to be a bird with conviction.
What have been your biggest challenges?
Differentiating between empids.
What do you do when you get out and away from the office/lab/kitchen?
Go birding, buddy! Or read some poetry, like Ross Gay’s Book of Delights, ideally somewhere sunny with our shoes off with snacks, and let the birds come to us.
What other brands do you love?
Bird Collective for all the vintage nerd vibes.
What keeps you going?
Because if you check every duck, eventually, you’ll find a really weird duck.
A personal style?
Loose pants and Carhartt’s/Crocs. Rihanna but comfy. Groovy swishy things. Sometimes just one earring.