Bird Walks Coming Soon as Wilson Botanical Garden Re-Opens

Violet Sabrewing, the largest hummingbird in Costa Rica. Photo by Jean-Philippe Thelliez

OTS Las Cruces/Wilson Botanical Garden re-opened to the public yesterday, Friday, June 26. New Rules due to Covid-19 preventive restrictions include mandatory reservations for any kind of visit including Bird Walks. Entrance Fees must be paid at the new Gatehouse; costs are $3 for locals and residents and $10 for non-residents. (The colones equivalent will be calculated at the daily exchange rate.) Masks and hand sanitization are required so bring your mask! Staff will have hand sanitizer at the gate and at Reception.

If you would like to go on your own, please send an email to, noting the date and time you wish to go and the number of people in your party.

Upright red with yellow trim. Photo by Alison Olivieri

In the coming weeks, we will schedule a SVBC Bird Walk with an imbedded link for you to RSVP. That way, we can make the reservation and keep numbers within an acceptable limit.

Because the pandemic has hit tourism spots very hard, SVBC members must now pay Entrance Fees – additionally, we encourage you to add a donation of whatever you can afford!

Hellzapoppin Heliconias!

Right now, the Heliconia Garden is glorious; nearly every plant is in flower and they are all amazing. As you birders know, hummingbirds are going to be busy in there – nectaring and zipping around — so you will have a double treat if you go soon.

Pendant ‘Sexy Pink’. Photo by Julie Girard

!Quiz Bird #4/Acertijo Aviario # 4!

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Time to pull out your bird book and name the species for Quiz Bird #4!

Mystery Bird #4 (photo by Jo Davidson).

Mystery Bird #4 (photo by Jo Davidson)

Location Clue #1: this photo was taken at Finca Las Nubes in Linda Vista by Jo Davidson

Time of Year Clue #2: January

Philosophy Clue #3: Things are not always as they seem

Send your answer quickly to: For correctly identifying this Mystery Bird, the prize will be chocolate cake for residents or, if we have an international winner, a Tico lanyard!

Please Note: if your initials are JG, JZ, JD, JR, GH or FS you are disqualified

Espanol aqui

¡Es momento de sacar su guía de campo de aves para nombrar la especie del Acertijo Aviario # 4!

Ubicación, Pista #1: Esta fotografía fue tomada en Finca Las Nubes, en Linda Vista, por Jo Davidson.

Mes del año, Pista #2: Enero

Filosofía, Pista #3: Las cosas no siempre son lo que parecen.

Envíe su respuesta rápido a: Por identificar correctamente esta Ave Misteriosa, el premio será un pastel de chocolate, para los residentes, ¡O un collar para gafete Tico si tenemos un ganador internacional!

 Nota: Si sus iniciales son JG, JZ, JD, JR, GH o FS, usted está descalificado.

Quiz Bird #2 Revealed/La Respuesta del Prueba #2!

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Quiz Bird #2 had nine entries, two of which were correct: Lesser Goldfinch (Carduelis psaltria).

Lesser Goldfinch photographed by Jo Davidson.

Lesser Goldfinch photographed by Jo Davidson.

Our Official Winner is Suzanne Gross of Piedades, Santa Ana, who came on one of our walks at the Wilson Garden last December. Due to the difficulty of mailing cookies from San Vito, Suzanne has generously donated her one dozen Chocolate Chips to our next Bird Walk at the Wilson Garden.

Other entries included two orioles, two tanagers, a vireo, a warbler and a seedeater.

Thanks for a great job Photographer Jo Davidson on making sure the bill was hidden behind a leaf: we fooled everybody except Suzanne and member Jim Zook.

Gracias a nuestra miembre Jo Davidson para su foto de un Carduelis psaltria!

Tuvimos mas respuestas este vez, pero solo dos de nueve estaban correctos.

Felicidades a Suzanne Gross de Piedades, Santa Ana: su respuesta estaba correcto: Lesser Goldfinch!

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