Celebrity in our midst – Victor Emanuel

Celebrity in our midst - Victor EmanuelBy Linda Elissalde
There are so many reasons to be proud of our Bolivar Peninsula. We enjoy an open beach on the Gulf of Mexico. There are bounteous areas covered by grasses and trees. For many years we enjoyed our wonderful and free Rollover Pass, and the people who are fortunate enough to dwell here permanently are loving and generous in their support of community projects. In the midst of this is a celebrity that some people do not know. Victor Emanuel is a world famous ornithologist. Mr. Emanuel has gone birding with many high-profile clients such as Laura Bush, Prince Philip, Terrence Malick, Henry Paulson, George Plimpton and Nobel Prize- winning physicist Murray Gell-Mann. However, you don’t have to be a star because Victor will bird with anybody.

Emanuel lives in Austin and operates one of the oldest ecology tour companies in the world. He has observed more than six thousand species during travels that have taken him to every continent. To him all birds are beautiful. One of his favorite spots is right here on the Bolivar Peninsula. He owns a house near the Bolivar Flats and arises early each morning to watch the migration of our local birds. He has now written ONE MORE WARBLER, A Life With Birds that traces his love and fascination with birds.

Celebrity in our midst - Victor Emanuel

The Bolivar Cultural Foundation recently hosted a bird watching/book signing gathering for Peninsula folk. Victor shared a bit of his history and passion for birding. Of course, if he heard a certain twitter, he would stop, grab his binoculars, point to where the charming creature was sitting and tell us its name. One of his happiest achievements is the camps he has started in several states for youngsters from 14 to 18 years of age. These kids spend time in an environment that promotes interest in, and love for, not only birds but all aspects of nature. Some campers grow up to return as counselors.

Mr. Emanuel spoke of his great enjoyment on the Bolivar Peninsula. He complimented the Audubon Society for their stewardship of the lands. He also pointed out the importance of keeping green spaces so that we can take pleasure in the gifts of Mother Nature.

It is such a delight to have this fine gentleman in our midst. You just never know. You may be out walking someday and run into him. He will gladly stroll along with you to share the beauty that can be found right on our own Gulf Coast. I hope we are all lucky enough to go birding with Victor Emanuel.


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