These are unique times. Some of us are stuck inside, by official order or decision, we can barely leave the house. Others can do some things but can’t go to restaurants or partake in other activities. Many of us have been laid off, lost employment, or can work from home maybe with pay cuts. We all wonder when this might end, many of us wonder if we will survive.
Trying times indeed, we have to figure out how to adapt, how to move forward with our lives. In the meantime, we still have birds, we still have nature to watch, marvel over, and learn about. With time on our hands, this is a time when we can learn more about the birds in our backyards but we can also learn about the places that we hope to eventually visit, the birds that we will eventually see. These difficult times will eventually end and with luck, sooner than expected. With that in mind, now is a great time to prepare for a birding trip to Costa Rica.
But why? Why begin studying now?
With more than 900 species on a list from a place the size of West Virginia or Wales, the sooner a birder starts to study, the better!
And the studying doesn’t have to be stressful or akin to working on a high level difficulty Sudoku. It can and should be fun, should be an easy-going, mind-stimulating way of moving forward. To begin getting ready for that future birding trip to Costa Rica, it’s best to start at the family level. In other words, check out the tinamous, see what they look like, learn about their behavior. Do the same with toucans, trogons, antbirds and other unfamiliar groups of birds.
After learning about the avian families that occur in Costa Rica, why not start to learn about the species that belong to each of these families. What are their names? Where do they live and what habitats do they use? Eventually, we can also learn their field marks, listen to their songs, and compare similar species.
Other things to learn about are the different types of habitats and bioregions that occur in Costa Rica, lodging options, look at bird lists and imagine what it might be like to take in the flashing snow white, deep blue, and glittering green colors of White-necked Jacobins as they forage at arms length.
We can also imagine Crimson-collared Tanagers and several other tropical bird species in the background as a much more familar Wood Thrush hops in the shade of tropical vegetation.
Costa Rica is waiting, it’s time to start thinking about that trip, here’s what you need:
-A good field guide for Costa Rica and or Central America. Best options include the modern day classic, “A Field Guide to the Birds of Costa Rica” by Garrigues and Dean, and “Birds of Central America” by Valelly and Dyer.
-Books on where to find birds in Costa Rica. Try the 700 plus page ebook, “How to See, Find, and Identify Birds in Costa Rica“.
-A comprehensive birding app. The Costa Rica Birds Field Guide app shows information and maps for all 926 species recorded in Costa Rica, shows images for well over 900 of those birds, and vocalizations for more than 680 of them. This app can also be personalized with notes, and has several other features and functions that make it a fun way to prepare for a birding trip.