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Bird Watching in Costa Rica

 I’m a Bird Watcher and Costa Rica Fills My Aviary Appetite

Guest post by Bobby H.

bird-watching-costa-ricaI am what you call an aviary enthusiast. You may not have heard that term before, and if you told me that you hadn’t, I wouldn’t be surprised. Many have heard the term “bird watcher”, but I do not just watch birds. I love to learn all that I possibly can about birds. I am retired now from the aviary that I used to work at, but my love for the feathered kind has not diminished. I spend my time traveling to foreign places learning about birds all over the world.

Costa Rica is one of my favorite places to go to observe my fine-feathered friends because they are so beautifully colored. I recently visited Costa Rica and stayed in a condo rented from HRG real estate on the Los Sueños Resort. What a gorgeous place! Some of the aviary species I wanted to see were readily available even on the resort itself! I do have many passions in life, not just studying and observing birds, and golfing is definitely up there near the top of my list.

Los Sueños Resort has an 18 hole, 72 par, world championship golf course. This amazing course offers breathtaking views of the ocean right from the greens! It is bordered by rainforest where monkeys chatter and play and gorgeous, bright-colored macaws nest in the trees.

The scarlet macaw is one of the most beautiful birds I know of. This Central American parrot is the one that you often see in pictures from the tropics. It is usually a bright red color from its head to its upper back where the color changes quickly to bright yellow, then to a bright green at the ends of its beautiful plumage. The South American macaw differs from its Central American relative only in that the ends of the feathers are blue rather than green. Both Central and South American macaws have a beautiful deep red color with a metallic gold iridescence on the undersides of their flying feathers and wings. These birds are just so gorgeous.

Some of the unique facts about the Scarlet Macaw are that they mate for life and that they can live for 40 to 50 years in the wild and up to 75 years in captivity! The squeaks and screams produced by the macaw’s voice box are able to carry for many miles. This helps them find groups of other birds like them in order to stay safe. Even birds find safety in numbers. It was such a treat to be able to see the macaws in their natural habitat while in Costa Rica and an even bigger treat to have seen them in the trees just off the golf course while I played!

One of the special trips I made while on this vacation was to The Ara Project. This non-profit organization, just a little over an hour northeast of Los Sueños, has a goal of conserving the two native species of macaws of Costa Rica: the Scarlet Macaw and the Great Green Macaw. The Ara Project was founded in the 1980’s by two of my personal heroes. Richard and Margot Frisius are an American expatriate couple who had relocated to Costa Rica to start a licensed zoological park in order to take care of the government confiscated or private owner dumped parrots in the area. The started a breeding program in 1992 to participate in macaw conservation and established what is now known as the Ara Project; then known as “Amigos de las Aves” (Friends of the Birds). They have since created the biggest captive collection of Great Green Macaws and are successfully introducing a Scarlet Macaw reintroduction program.

I loved my trip to Costa Rica to see the Macaws in their natural habitat and the conservation efforts being made to recolonize them in larger numbers.

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