Thursday, April 15, 2010

Goodbye friends....see you soon

We tell people here we are pajereros migratorios. Pajerero is the local word for birders--in other parts of the Spanish-speaking word it means various other things, including someone that is sort of good-for-nothing. Mmmmm.... But in any case we are in Costa Rica when neotropical migrants are here and we enjoy many of the same species in Wisconsin's summer. I sometimes like to imagine that the very same Baltimore Oriole that has been fattening itself up at our banana feeder here for the long journey north might be the very one that we hear singing in Madison. This is an immature, so perhaps we don't hear him sing until the following year. He will be an adult male next fall.
  As a little project this week I've been keeping track of which days we saw at least one oriole. In January and February we saw lots of them everyday. Last week there were suddenly fewer and the last one we saw was on Sunday. Next year I'll have to pay more careful attention because it seems to me that the females disappeared first.
  To learn more about Baltimore Orioles and their migration, go to the Cornell of Laboratory of Ornithology site.

Our fruit feeder is a simple wooden platform that fits over our clothesline pole. It has nails pounded into it (heads up) and I impale bananas or the skins of pineapple, papaya, or mango on it. After many taste tests, the birds have let me know that bananas are by far their favorite. Fortunately bananas only cost about 6 cents each. That's about double what it was 4 years ago, but still not expensive. Which is good, because I've put out up to 8 bananas a day. Cheap entertainment.

Like any feeder, we have a long-tailed furry bird that comes regularly.  Isn't he cute? This is a Variegated Squirrel (Sciurus variegatoides) which comes a great variety of color forms throughout Costa Rica. We are training him to jump off the feeder and into the nearby bush. Then he comes right back.
He has recently performed a very important service. One of the bananas he tried to steal fell to the ground and rotted unnoticed, except by a blue morpho butterfly that came and fed from it at length. Since we rarely see morphos in our yard, we were delighted.

1 comment:

Trudy said...

You asked about your blog style, so I thought I'd just give you my impressions....

this is a lovely post - a wonderful mixture of words (good for nothing birders) bird migration, bird behavior, tidbits about life in Costa Rica (price of bananas has doubled but to 6 cents) and terrific pictures. I was amused by the squirrel! We have had equal parts pleasure and exasperation by the acrobatics of our yard squirrels this winter. Finally bought a squirrel proof feeder which they knocked to the ground last night and had their way with.

Thanks, Carol. Fun for me to read this.