My name is Greivin Gonzalez, resident guide (bird specialist) and manager at Trogon Lodge, San Gerardo de Dota.
I’ve been a passionate for birds since I was a kid. More than 20 years ago, when there were no regulations in Costa Rica for those who wanted to keep wild animals at home, some people had parrots, monkeys, raccoons, and squirrels; but others, like my father, had birds.
Gladly, things have changed in Costa Rica, and there are new wild animal laws, but back in the day, my father’s hobby woke up a passion in me; a natural way to share my day to day with birds, and to learn from my father everything he knew about them. That way, my backyard turned to be a small eco system.
Dad gets very excited retelling these stories to his friends, as how he used to take care and reproduce birds in captivity. So, when the birds were ready enough to defend themselves, eat and go out on the forest, he and I would free them in areas where we knew they had enough food, so they could reproduce and live in their natural habitat.
Nowdays, that I lead responsible birdwatching tours, I transmit this passion to the visitors, and I get really excited to share with them everything I know about bird behavior and its characteristics.
Today, I want to share with you my recommendations and good practices for those who like or want to become birdwatchers:
• Birdwatching, is a beautiful activity. We may enjoy them without hindering their privacy. Thats why we must keep a low voice at all times, be as silent as possible.
• Wear dark clothes, preferably: green, brown, dark blue or gray. Do not wear whie clothes or caps.
• Bring your insect repellant, water, and if you have a pair of binoculars, bring them! If you carry a bird book, make sure to keep it handy, so once the tour is over, we can make a proper identificacion of the seen birds.
• Keep in mind that the bird that you want to see, might be at a certain height. This would probably require for you to hold to a branch or twig to have a better view. These practices, scare away the birds, as they get scared with the sudden movement. Please avoid rapid and sudden moves. Image how a feline searching for prey, would sneak up, making no noise, not even breaking a twig, to avoid scaring the prey away.
• When photographing birds it is VERY IMPORTANT to avoid using the flash. When you do, you will probably provoke the bird to fly away and it may suffer an accident (Hitting a tree or a branch), being blurred by the light and low visibility.
• When the guide locates a bird on a tree, he might use a green laser pointer, to help visitors with bird location, instead of moving his arms around, specially because there are many shy bird spcies and less movement done, the better. (Guides will point out approximately 10 centimenters below where the bird is, never striaght on the bird)
If we follow htis advise, it will be easier to understand bird’s behavior, as well as how to protect them, and return home with a wonderful memory and photographies.