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René Corado

René Corado was born in Guatemala and lives in California, United States since 1981.
He is a biologist and is the Collections Manager of
the Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology, a natural history museum with the largest collection of eggs and nests of birds of the world, with more than one million eggs and more than twenty thousand nests.


Since late 1980’s he has conducted research projects in the Amazon jungle of Ecuador, as well as in Costa Rica and California. In 2001 he started a project of reproduction and distribution of birds in Guatemala, on the present visit this country twice a year to conduct his research.
He has previously published Egg & Nest with Rosamond Purcell, Linnea Hall (The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2008); Dreams of a Shoeshine Boy (Vanity Press, 2011) Edited Birds’ Nests of the World (Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology, 2012) previously published in Japanese, El Lustrador, The Adventures of René Corado The Shoeshine Boy, Bosque estacionario seco de Guatemala.

René Corado was born in a village of 13 houses El Chicał, Morazán, Dept. El Progreso. When he was 8 years old his family moved to the capital (Guatemala City) in order to help bring food to the house. He attended school in the morning and worked as a shoeshine boy in the afternoon. He begged for food scraps to take to his siblings and the times that he did not get enough, he had to look for food for himself in the trash where he had to compete with the street dogs.

In 1981 René came to California with only sixth grade of schooling, undocumented and knew no one here. He arrived just with a heart full of dreams. He worked in different jobs as, gardener, painter, dishwasher, cook, house cleaner, welder, put wallpaper in hotels, opened trenches for drains etc. He started to work as a gardener in a  bird museum where he is still working right now.  Working in a museum full of biologists and scientists sparked his curiosity for biology and birds. He decided he wanted to be one of them and started to go to school after work. 

Now, he is a renown biologist and the Collections Manager of the Museum where he was the gardener.  He is an ornithologist (branch of biology that studies birds) and oologist (branch of biology that studies birds eggs). He volunteers in his community in hospitals, recovery houses and jails for people with alcohol and drug problems because he also has a degree on Addictions Disorders. 

Illustration taken from the book "Las Aventuras de René Corado, El Lustrador The Adventures of René Corado The Shoeshine Boy ."

Mi trabajo es increíble, lo disfruto muc

Achievement awards:

  • Order of the Quetzal (Orden del Quetzal ) Guatemala's highest honors, November 2019

  • Ambassador of Peace of The Guatemala, September 2019

  • Humanitarian Rescue of the Environment Award, Humanitarian Diplomatic Alliance, May 2019

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