The Children’s Forest of Coto Brus, Part 3

The Musical Arts of ‘Pest Network’

Pest Network performing as ‘Pajaros de Bobos’. Photo by Michael Olivieri

A big surprise was waiting at the end of each future forest tree planting day at Finca Cantaros for the Detectives de Aves students, as ‘Pajaros de Bobos’ popped out of the woods to sing and dance, as well as play percussion, guitar and recorder!

Integrating the arts with environmental and sustainability education is an idea that has taken hold over the past several decades and was in full ‘swing’ here recently, grabbing some gleeful attention from our student reforesters!

Sabalito students enjoy the performance organized by Carla Azofeifa in red at rear. Photo by Alison Olivieri

As Arts-in-Residency participants at the local Jaguar Luna Arts Collective in Copabuena, Sean Smith and Félix Prater entertained the students with great verve, color and flair.

As most SVBC members know well, Lesson’s Motmots “whoot” and “whoot” in gardens and forests throughout the country so these larger-than-life Bobos’ repeated multi-syllabic refrains, “Escucha! Escucha! El ritmo! El ritmo!” reverberated in our ears in quite a similarly tuneful way.

Sean? Or Felix? Thank you for your part of this exciting project. Photo by Michael Olivieri

We want to extend huge thanks to Sean and Félix for bringing each of the Childen’s Forest Tree Planting days to such exciting finales with their invigorating and unexpected performances.


Friends From Afar — We’ve Got Mail!

Greetings, members of the SVBC:

We wish to convey to you all our sincere thanks for the welcome that the SVBC members extended to us during our recent visit to San Vito this past March. Our little group of six was comprised of short term visitors (a few days for four of us; an additional couple of weeks for two of us). Although there was only one formal SVBC member among us, we were all treated as regulars and included in a delightful variety of birding adventures: the walk and brunch at Cecilia Sansonetti’s beautiful finca; the walks at Cántaros (with the opportunity to meet new owner, Lilly, and managers, Yei and Marylin); the tense photo competitions, the awards, the refreshments, etc.

Greg Homer took two of us on an early morning walk to Tres Rios in search of, among other birds, the albino vultures. Peter Wendell gave us a primer on using eBird. Alison Olivieri gave us perfect directions to Rio Negro. And everyone else was equally gracious. We were also impressed with the club’s industriousness—from its nascent effort to merge with the Pajareros del Sur, to the continuing inclusion of young birders, the involvement with the local schools and the Detectives de Aves education progam. You folks gave us all great memories of San Vito, its birds and its birders. Thank you! 

David and Audrey Fielding, on our own behalf and on behalf of our friends: David Rorick, Sandra Braden, John Denvir and Miriam Rokeach.

David and Audrey Fielding, members from San Francisco


PS – It must be about time to renew our membership, so for David & Audrey Fielding, our check is in the mail (via Paypal).

The SVBC responds: this is the nicest news we’ve had in forever, so thank you both for your note and your Membership Renewal.

Please Join Us for 2019/Afiliarse con nosotros 2019!

Birding with the Pajareros Del Sur at the Wilson Botanical Garden. Photo by Jo Davidson

It is time to join the San Vito Bird Club for the first time OR to renew your membership for 2019!

Benefits of membership include bi-monthly Bird Walks at the Wilson Garden/OTS Las Cruces Biological Station, invites to the members-only Annual Meeting at Cascatas Del Bosque, day trips in and around the Coto Brus Valley and occasional overnight jaunts throughout Costa Rica in search of rarities like the Lanceolated Monklet. Plus your membership support helps us bring BirdSleuth-International, an environmental education program from the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology, to local schools as “Detectives de Aves”. Please read President Wendell’s post about the Detectives de Aves year 2018 here.

Detectives de Aves teachers Carla Azofeifa and Paula Mesen with SVBC President Peter Wendell. Photo by Alison Olivieri

Part of your membership dues will be donated to the Organization for Tropical Studies Las Cruces Biological Station that provides us with an exciting place to bird and free coffee and camaraderie after the walks.

We are keeping dues at 2018 rates: C11,000 or $20 per person for International Members and C14,000 or $25 per person for residents of Costa Rica. Family membership are priced for two people but always include children.

Without you, we are nothing so please join today! You can give your dues to Peter at the Bird Walk on December 9 or to Randall Bourbon Jimenez or to any other executive committee member: Greg Homer, Alison Olivieri or Harry Hull.

Watch this video of Detectives de Aves in Guatemala! Mira el video de Detectives de Aves en Guatemala!

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Because Detectives de Aves is THE most exciting program sponsored by the SVBC, we decided to re-post this 7 minute video from the Cornell University Laboratory of Ornithology — they hit it out of the park with this short film!

In April, two of our teachers — Carla Azofeifa and Paula Mesen — went with SVBC President Peter Wendell to the highlands of Guatemala to share teaching experiences and learn from indigenous teachers Vilma, Gilda and Norma.

That visit was reciprocated in May when Tara and Rob Cahill came to San Vito in May with Vilma and Norma — all from the Cloud Forest Conservation Society — to participate with us in local schools. These travels were funded by a grant to Dr. Lilly Briggs from National Geographic. (See a report here.)

It’s just a GREAT program and we are proud to play a part. In this presentation, those of you who don’t live here will meet Carla Azofeifa and Paula Mesen, two of our wonderful teachers! Please consider sending a donation to continue this program in local schools by visiting our Support the Club page.

Ya que Detectives de Aves el EL programa más emocionante patrocinado por el SVBC, decidimos volver a postear este video, de 7 minutos, del Laboratorio de Ornitología de la Universidad de Cornell. ¡Realmente se lucieron con este corto video!

En abril, dos de nuestras maestras Carla Azofeifa y Paula Mesén, fueron junto al Presidente del SVBC, Peter Wendell, a las tierras altas de Guatemala para compartir sus experiencias de enseñanza y aprender de las maestras indígenas Vilma, Gilda y  Norma.

Vilma y Norma nos devolveron la visita en mayo, cuando vinieron junto a Tara y Rob Cahill, de la Cloud Forest Conservation Society, para participar en nuestras escuelas locales en San Vito. Estos viajes fueron financiados mediante una donación del Dr. Lilly Briggs de National Geographic (vea el reporte aquí).

Este es un GRAN programa y estamos orgullosos de tomar parte. En esta presentación, aquellos de ustedes que no vivien aquí, ¡conocerán a Carla Azofeifa y Paula Mesén, dos de nuestras maravillosas maestras! Por favor considere enviar una donación para continuar con este programa en nuestras escuelas locales, visitando nuestra página Apoye el Club

New Tee Shirts for Sale!/¡Nuevas Camisetas a la Venta!

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Help us teach environmental education and Citizen Science class ‘Detectives de Pajaros’ in local schools by placing your order now for our new 2014 SVBC tee shirts.

Little Black Tee Shirt SVBC 2014. Runway Model Michael Olivieri.

Little Black Tee Shirt SVBC 2014. Runway Model Michael Olivieri.

As you can see from this photo, the tee shirts are little black numbers sporting our stylish logo that is sure to be all the rage on the ‘birding shirt’ runway here in Costa Rica and beyond.

We ordered a total of 20, hoping for an instant sell-out so our supply is, as they say, ‘limited’. In men’s and women’s sizes we have 1 small, 4 medium, 3 large and 2 in extra-large.

For a mere $15 or C7,500 apiece, we think they’re reasonably priced and hope you agree.

To place your order, please email us at For residents, we will set them aside and deliver them promptly. For out-of-country orders, we will have to include shipping and handling costs @ $5 per shirt so all our profits will go to fund a ‘Detectives de Pajaros’ class in or around San Vito!

¡Nuevas Camisetas a la Venta!

Ayúdanos a enseñar educación ambiental y las clases de Ciencias Ciudadanas “Detectives de Pájaros” en escuelas locales ordenando ahora sus nuevas camisas SVBC 2014.

Como puedes ver en la foto, las camisas son pequeños números negros que hacen nuestro elegante logo más deportivo y que de seguro estarán en la pasarela de “la camiseta para pajarear” aquí en Costa Rica y más allá.

Ordenamos un total de 20 con la esperanza de una venta total instantánea así que nuestras existencias son, como dicen, “limitadas”. En tallas de hombre y de mujer tenemos: 1 pequeña, 4 medianas, 3 grandes y 2 extra grandes.

Por sólo $15 o C7,500 cada una, pensamos que están razonablemente valoradas y esperamos que estés de acuerdo.

Por favor envíanos un correo electrónico: puede hacer clic aqui para ordenar. Para residentes, vamos a apartarlas y entregarlas prontamente. Para órdenes fuera del país, tendremos que incluir costos de manipulación y envío pues ¡toda la ganancia irá a financiar una clase de “Detectives de Pájaros” en o en los alrededores de San Vito!

Our New ‘Education’ Pages

BirdSleuth logo simpleWe invite you to visit our two new website pages: “Education” and “Detectives de Pajaros Videos”.

The Education page–click here–is where you will find an up-to-date summary of our collaboration with the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology Education Program “BirdSleuth-International” or, in Latin America, “Detectives de Pajaros”. We hope it will pique your interest and galvanize you to get involved by visiting a class, donating materials, or sponsoring the program in a local school.

And we hope you will have fun visiting the “Detectives de Pajaros Videos” page–here— where you can watch parts of the program in action. We have written a brief summary of each lesson to introduce the accompanying video. Special thanks are extended to member Andrew England who donated his time and talents creating all the videos.

Note that you can always get to the Education page and its sub-page, “Detectives de Pajaros Videos”,  by clicking on the “Education” tab on the navigation bar under the banner photo of any page or simply by clicking on the “Detectives de Pajaros” logo (illustrated above) in the right-hand column of the home page.

Contact us by clicking here to provide your always-welcome feedback!

BirdSleuth Workshop at Las Cruces

Lilly Briggs leads the BirdSleuth Workshop in San Vito, May 2012

Lilly Briggs leads the BirdSleuth Workshop in San Vito, May 2012

As noted on this website under the navigation bar Community>Current Projects>BirdSleuth, we hope to help implement this Cornell University Laboratory of Ornithology environmental education program in San Vito in some way, shape or form. To begin this process — and to familiarize us with the course material and classes — a day-long workshop for Spanish speakers was help at Las Cruces on Sunday, May 13, led by Lilly Briggs a Cornell PhD student in the Department of Natural Resources, and Jennifer Fee, the Lab of O’s Manager of K-12 Programs.

Jennifer Fee setting up the BirdSleuth Workshop

Jennifer Fee Setting up the BirdSleuth Workshop

Las Cruces Biologist Ariadna Sanchez spent months planning and organizing the workshop and, to judge by the participants enthusiastic reaction, it was an enormous success. Nearly half of the registrants were teachers from elementary and high schools. Almost everyone else had taken the recently-offered OTS Naturalist Guide Course.

This educational program is geared toward teaching children to engage in and enjoy science. It is all about discovery and learning to record data, using Bird Journals and Cornell’s amazing public database, eBird. It’s also about having fun with hands-on activities that include making a personal bird journal, drawing and studying birds, learning bird families by sight and, finally, counting species and individuals.

During the nine completed classes, students play the Bird Survivor! Game and the Migration Game, both of which teach about migratory birds’ perilous lives as they fly north from Central and South America to breed and south from North America to return home. These games also lead students to think about social connections as they learn to view birds as international citizens. The concept of global cooperation can be well understood by connecting students from different countries that share the same species of birds.

Bird Survivor! Game

Bird Survivor! Game

Perhaps even more importantly, this program is about empowering children to find solutions to the critical issue of bird (and other wildlife) conservation: becoming Citizen Scientists and helping to solve problems on local, national and international scales. One of the most important classes focuses on creating a local Conservation Project and carrying it out.

BirdSleuth-International could be offered here as an ‘after-school Bird Club’: basically, an extended learning program. Or it could be used as the curriculum for a week-long or two-week Summer Day Camp. Or in some different way, that we have not yet discovered.

As we move forward with this exciting project, we will need the help of all our members in the form of creative ideas, financial support and local volunteer action. Please let us know how YOU can help by clicking on contact us!

Making a Bird Journal

Making a Bird Journal