Golden-hooded Tanager | San Vito Bird Club

Golden-hooded Tanager | San Vito Bird Club

Golden-hooded Tanager | San Vito Bird Club

Female White-winged Becard carrying nesting material at Finca Cantaros. Photo by Harry Hull

Thrushes, flycatchers, warblers, orioles and tanagers are included in the neotropical migrant group that leaves the tropics around April and returns, after breeding in the north, in October and November. About 25% of Costa Rica's bird species fall into this category. To provide a local perspective, we have 21 species of warblers that can be seen in San Vito with relatively little effort but only six are year-round residents.

At the same time, you will hear us exclaim over migrant species from the south that comes here at this time of year to breed in Costa Rica. These include the lovely and ubiquitous Swallow-tailed Kites, nest-stealing Piratic Flycatchers and cheerful Yellow-green Vireos.

Piratic Flycatcher, an austral migrant. Photo by Harry Hull

Even though some birds are still left, with a little effort you can still spot the ones that are deliberately hiding and note their fascinating breeding behaviors. We say, "Get up and go outside with your binoculars"! You'll never see any of this if you're inside watching television, but outside birds are putting on an incredible show and you really do not want to miss it!


The windows and mirrors next to our car next to the garden are covered with black plastic: this is the standard look of our car for the months of April and May. In the morning, until about 10 am, if we remove these defenses, the car would end up sprinkled with bird droppings almost immediately. Our car is under attack from a Silver-throated Tanager and a Clay-colored Thrush, both of whom are stubborn and with full conviction that their reflection belongs to a rival of their own species trying to take their valuable territory for reproduction. p>

At this time of year, most of our resident birds are in full courtroom, and territorializing small patches of fruit trees, building nests, laying their eggs and feeding the next generation. During last week's club walk at Wilson Botanic Garden, we found a pair of Graycapped Flycatchers, a nest of Common Tody-Flycatcher and Spot-crowned Euphonia where we were able to observe with amazement two gigantic peaks along with two tiny huddles in the nest . As an extra bonus for us, we were able to observe both parents feeding the chicks.

At home with a good cup of coffee, we could observe a family of Rufous-breasted Wrens working on trees near our house, then when we were walking the dog, we could observe Tropical Kingbirds feeding their chicks on one of the electric cables that go along the way.

Birds try to be as little conspicuous as possible during the breeding season. Understandably, they do not want other predators to see them in their respective nests. So when people tell us that they see less birds in the feeders of their patios or gardens between April and May, we say "Good! Your strategies work! "

Clay-colored Thrush nestlings. In addition there is another reason why the very notable detriment of casual bird sightings: migrant species are leaving the country, moving north to breeding in North America where < find less predators and where (fortunately) find more sources of food and space where they can settle. Three birds commonly found in the feeders will NOT see more like the Baltimore Oriole, Tennessee Warbler and Summer Tanager.

At the same time, we will be very enthusiastic when you can observe Southern migrant species that come to our country at this time of year to reproduce in Costa Rica. These include the adorable and omnipresent Hawksbill hawk, steal nests or Piratic Flycatchers as well as the jovial Yellow-green Vireos.

Golden-hooded Tanager at Finca Cantaros. Photo by Harry Hull.

Even though some species of birds leave us temporarily, with a little effort we can observe those that remain deliberately hidden in their time of reproduction and even more being able to appreciate their reproductive behavior. We say, '' Get up and go outside with your binoculars! '' You'll never see this if you're inside watching TV (or reading about it on your computer) since the birds are putting on an incredible show that you definitely do not want to miss!

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