Sunday, April 21, 2013


Birding is not only about seeking for specialties in remote tracks of forest or distant sites... sometimes, the birds come right next to you... specially if you attract them!  So, sometimes we just relax and wait in front of a feeder, as we did in our last trip to Panamá's western highlands.  See these photos, for example, from the bed-&-breakfast of our great friend Glen at Nueva Suiza, Cielito Sur.
This is just a sample, Clay-colored Thrush and Cherrie's Tanagers feeding side-by-side.  In this photo you can see the field mark that separates the female Cherrie's, its bright colored chest.  We saw also Palm and Blue-gray Tanager, and a shy Buff-throated Saltator that only allowed a photo out of the feeder.
But the star was a common migrant to Panamá, the magnificent male Baltimore Oriole (and yes, we got Baltimore Orioles in Panamá, just like those in the caps).
The number of species depends of many factors like season, regularity (that is, how often you attend the feeder), type of food (grains, fruits, and so on...) and location, which is probably one of the most important.  Imagine a feeder like this, but inside a tall montane forest... yes, like those at Los Quetzales cabins, inside La Amistad International Park.  Check the first photo... how many species can you count?    I'll talk about those species next, but first check out who else visited this feeder.
Yes, the Ruddy-capped Nightingale-Thrush was very confiding around the feeder, allowing nice photos.  This species is quite widespread, just like the Chestnut-capped Brush-Finch.
But these feeders also attracted endemic birds, including two antagonists: first, the Yellow-thighed Finch is quite common, usually found in groups, working the middle and low levels of the forest.  A black bird with conspicuous yellow thighs.
In contrast, the uncommon Black-thighed Grosbeak is a solitary canopy dweller.  A yellow bird with incospicuous black thighs.  All these birds just feet from our hands!
Only a sample, as I said!

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