Ξ May 18th, 2006 | → 5 Comments | ∇ Costa Rica, Whatever |

4 AM and the morning birds awaken. I call them that as I have no idea what they are named… but they make very special these early mornings in Costa Rica.

I remember hating the birds in Chicago… Starlings? Grackles? Whatever… annoying, noisy birds. Here though, the songs are amazingly complex and impossible to describe. One call can last 10-20 seconds and range incredibly in the number of notes and combinations. Then one stops and another totally different song begins. I have seen these birds many times, expecting them to be some beautiful, multi-colored tropical specie. There are not… The best ones are large, brown-grey-black birds and in reality, rather plain, but their song is not. The other birds now join, and within minutes, it is a hugely complex chorus of sound. Amazing in its beauty.

At time, Costa Rica can get annoying… but then there are the mornings.


5 Responses to ' Birds '

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  1. James Rego said,

    on June 18th, 2006 at 12:30 pm

    The bird which has annoyed you and many others in the wee hours, I believe is Costa Rica’s National Bird. Please see Tico Times May 12. 2006 which I will copy below.

    Clay-Colored Robin’s
    Song ‘Calls the Rains’

    All those sleepless nights! All that rau-
    cous singing! And here’s the result.
    This clay-colored robin chick recent-
    ly fledged outside my kitchen window in
    downtown San Jose and posed for his first
    photos with and without mom.
    His scientific name is decidedly unattrac-
    tive: Turdus grayi. (Some grumpy, rudely
    awakened sleepers might think it quite apt.)
    But his Spanish name rolls off the tongue:
    yigirro. By whatever name, the chick has
    the distinction of joining the ranks of Costa
    Rica’s national bird.
    Why, with all the gorgeous birds flying
    around Costa Rica, did the powers that be
    choose this homely, very common – and
    very noisy – bird?
    Precisely because of its song. As Alexander
    Skutch wrote in “A Guide to the Birds of
    Costa Rica,”the song is “a long-continued (!)
    caroling of varied phrases, mostly rich and
    melodious,containing slurred whistles,war-
    bles, short trills, and now and then dry,
    piercing notes… the song is said by local
    people to ‘call the rains,’ and has earned the
    yigirro its status as Costa Rica’s national bird.”
    For those of you who still aren’t con-
    vinced that the new life – both of robins and
    the rain-replenished earth – was worth the
    constant “caroling,”usually starting around
    4 a.m.,you can take consolation in knowing
    that the clay-colored robin’s song is rarely
    heard outside the breeding season.
    -Dorothy MacKinnon| Tico Times

  2. Robert said,

    on September 20th, 2007 at 7:37 pm

    I need to know laws about bringing birds parrots in C.R.

  3. Tim said,

    on September 20th, 2007 at 7:47 pm

    As of now, there is an embargo on ANY importation of birds to Costa Rica.

    While there is one way to do it, it involves mutilation of the bird. Unacceptable.

  4. Caren said,

    on January 12th, 2008 at 11:47 pm

    Does anyone have an up-date on the Costa Rica embargo on birds? We are looking for places to semi-retire and we have a lot of friends in Costa Rica who “paint” it up to be a really great place, but we have 2 parrots that we would not want to give up.

    We tried to contact the Costa Rica Consulate in New York City and they said each application would be reviewed on a case by case basis and that we should contact the Dept. of Agriculture in Costa Rica in order to get a list of requirements.

  5. Tim said,

    on January 13th, 2008 at 11:02 am

    Go to the ARCR forums at and do a search (do NOT just post your question).

    There have been several recent posts on this.

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