Better Birding in Costa Rica- Best Strategies
"Better birding" in Costa Rica depends on how you define it. Better birding can be seeing more species than hoped, getting more pictures of Squirrel Cuckoos and Masked Tityras than expected, or seeing every tough target species. It can also be birding in remote places, spending an easy-going afternoon of balcony birding, or even taking a virtual birding tour because at the end of the day, the best birding depends on the goals of the person doing it.
Squirrel Cuckoos can be photogenic.
Masked Tityras too!
This is why we adapt our tours to the needs and desires of the client and then strive to surpass that. At Lifer Tours, this is what better birding means to us, these are 5 strategies used to make that happen:
Tours Customized for Client Needs
It's worth mentioning again because this is just the simple, first best practice that should be applied to every tour. For a photography tour, we focus on getting the best shots of the birds people want to capture the most. For a target-based tour, we customize the trip to improve every chance at seeing the key target species. For birding tours aimed at seeing as much as possible, we customize tour routes and visit sites for that purpose.
We admit it, we happen to be local birding guides in Costa Rica but you know what? We would suggest using local guides to some extent no matter where you travel for birding. The guides have to be good enough but if they are, you just can't beat the multi-faceted local knowledge of a local guide. That goes for every type of tour.
Experienced Well Trained Guides
Like we were saying, a local guide still needs to have a lot of experience. A guide who has taken a few birding courses might work for beginning birding but anything more than that requires guides who have in the field training and experience to meet the needs of every level and type of birding. Go with a guide with years of focused training and your birding can't help but be better.
Keeping Up on Sightings and Sites
Another strategy we employ for better birding in Costa Rica is always being in touch with the local birding community to know where rare birds are being seen, where bamboo might be seeding, where certain fruiting trees are, and what is happening at any number of sites. Constant connection and communication (Whatsapp has been great!) helps us stay aware of the best places to find every species at all times.
To top off our strategies for better birding, we also do a lot of scouting. That's easy enough when you live in a birdy country like Costa Rica and love to go birding as much as possible! Since we can't help but go birding when not guiding, we are always scouting for rare species and checking out new sites.
Once again, better birding just means surpassing your own personal birding goals. No matter where you are, if you can manage to do that, a day of birding and bird photography is a successful day. Costa Rica birds are a bit more complicated but after several years of experience, we can say that the strategies mentioned above are working quite well. What does better birding mean for you? Tell us about it in the comments and contact us because we always love to talk about birds!