Birds, Volunteers and Visitors

Conservation Birding and the 112th Annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count on the Osa Peninsula

CBC participant and guide Nito Paniagua

It is that time of year again; time to count birds throughout the Americas in the name of conservation and science.  A more than 100 year tradition, the Audubon Society has led the charge to bring together citizen scientists, biologists and bird enthusiasts from Canada to the southern tip of South America to conduct one of the largest bird censuses on the planet – The Christmas Bird Count.  The count takes place during one 24 hour period between December 14th and January 5th in over 2000 count circles by tens of thousands of participants.

This year Osa Conservation led the Second Annual Osa Peninsula Christmas Bird Count on December 21st 2011.  We were joined by ecolodges, birding groups, bird and nature guides, ornithologists, school kids and many others to count individual birds and bird species from Matapalo to the southern edge of Corcovado National Park.  Count areas also included Carate, Puerto Jimenez and up to Dos Brazos along the Rio Tigre.

Buff-throated Saltator

In the spirit of avian conservation on the Osa Peninsula this year’s CBC bird symbol was the Black-cheeked Ant-Tanager, specifically chosen to call attention to this highly endangered and resident species, endemic only to the Osa Peninsula.  Last year we highlighted the endemic and endangered Yellow-billed Cotinga which proved to be a great success not only in bringing it to the attention to the local community through the CBC but also through important research and conservation measures taken by Osa Conservation and the American Bird Conservancy.  We will continue to highlight this year’s species throughout the year through various community and conservation activities and events.

Osa Conservation’s Holiday Conservation Birding Tour also took place during the days leading up to and culminating in the Christmas Bird Count.  Conservation birding participants had the opportunity to “bird” all the around the Osa Peninsula including The Greg Gund Conservation Center and Piro Research Center for four fantastic days of discovering hundreds of the bird species that either reside in or migrate to the Osa Peninsula.  We walked along the edges of mangroves, along the beach where the rainforest meets the sea, along the Piro and Carate Rivers, in primary and secondary tropical forest, and in the beautiful gardens found at Osa Conservation.  Throughout the week we saw 11 species of hummingbirds to include the White-crested Coquette, a regional endemic and a rare find; a Common Potoo with her chick stiff as a board on her daytime perch, also a rare find; 20 neotropical migratory bird species to include the threatened Golden-winged Warbler and Prothonotary Warbler; as well as threatened resident endemic species such as the Yellow-billed Cotinga, Black-cheeked Ant-Tanager and Turquoise Cotinga.

If you would like to give the gift of avian conservation, please join us on one of our Conservation Birding Tours.  You can participate in our 2012 Holiday Tour and Christmas Bird Count, join us on a fun-filled Bird-A-Thon or create your own Conservation Birding Tour with the help of our expert staff.

Yellow-billed Cotinga

We would like to thank Bosque del Cabo, Bosque del Rio Tigre birding lodge, El Remanso lodge, Lapa Rios, Luna Lodge, Iguana Lodge, Ave Azul, and countless individuals who participated in this year’s Osa Peninsula’s Christmas Bird Count 2011.  It is only through everyone’s enthusiasm for birds and bird conservation on the Osa and peninsula-wide participation that makes this count a success.

For more information on Conservation Birding Tours and Osa Conservation please visit us at our website or contact or

All photographs courtesy of Valerie Gebert

Birds, Volunteers and Visitors

Join Us in the Osa for Conservation Birding

2010 Conservation Birding Group

There is no place more unique or pristine to go birding than where the rainforest meets the sea.  The Osa Peninsula harbors over 460 species of birds including the healthiest population of Scarlet Macaws in Central America, three species of Leking Manakins, Yellow-billed and Turquoise Cotingas and even the endangered Harpy Eagle.  Home to the largest remaining tract of tropical lowland rainforest and intact mangrove ecosystems along the tropical Pacific coast of Central America, the Osa Peninsula is the wildest and most spectacular region of Costa Rica.

Join Osa Conservation on a special Conservation Birding Tour.  The Osa Peninsula Holiday Birding Tour in December 2011 is a week-long winter holiday getaway of birding that culminates in the Audubon Societies’ Christmas Bird Count.  The Osa Peninsula Spring Birding Tour in March of 2012 will take you all the way around the peninsula, from rainforest to lagoons and beaches to mangroves.  Both trips happen at an exciting time of year when you can see both resident birds and neotropical migrants together.

Participation in OC’s Conservation birding trips supports the important mission of avian conservation in the Osa Peninsula.  These trips are led by Osa Conservation’s resident ornithologist Karen Leavelle as well as trained naturalist guides who are intimately familiar with the bird species and tropical ecosystems of Osa.  Conservation birding trips include intense birding, forest hikes, and nightly talks and presentations by OC’s staff of biologists and conservation professionals.  Topics include Osa natural history, sea turtle conservation, wild cat conservation, avian research and conservation, reforestation, and tropical amphibians as indicator species for climate change.  We welcome you to be part of our mission to conserve the peninsula’s globally significant biodiversity and we hope to see you on one of these fantastic trips!

So whether you are adding to your life list or simply have a love of birds, pack up your hiking boots and binoculars and come on down for lots of great birding and what will surely be a memorable journey into paradise!

TRIP  1: DECEMBER 17-22, 2010
Osa Peninsula Holiday Birding Tour
(Culminating in the National Audubon Society’s Christmas Bird Count)
Spend your holiday birding in the tropics!  This trip is designed to immerse you in one of the world’s most spectacular tropical rainforests and prepare you to participate in the longest running wildlife census assessing the health of bird populations in the Americas—The Audubon Society’s Christmas Bird Count, a tradition extending for over 100 years.  In addition to five exciting days of birding, you will gain an in-depth understanding of avian ecology and conservation issues in the Osa.  The Osa has been designated a Costa Rican Important Bird Area (IBA), an Endemic Bird Area (EBA) by Birdlife International, an Alliance for Zero Extinction Site, and is considered a global conservation priority. Don’t miss this incredible opportunity to give the gift of avian conservation!  For more trip details and itinerary visit our website.

TRIP 2: MARCH 3-10, 2011
Osa Peninsula
Spring Birding Tour
Every day is a good day for spotting birds in the Osa, but Spring is a fantastic time to observe rare and endangered resident and endemic species  and neotropical migrants on the move.  We’ll be looking for Mangrove hummingbirds, Yellow-Billed Cotingas, and Black-checked Ant Tanagers, to name just a few.  You might even see a Baltimore Oriole or an endangered Golden-winged Warbler or two.  Spend 8 days and 7 nights in one of the most intensely biodiverse tropical rainforests on earth while learning about valuable research and conservation efforts in the region.  Click here to learn more.

For trip registration or questions please contact Emily Angell at or Karen Leavelle at

These trips promise to be a delightful experience, chock full of great people, spectacular birds and wildlife and a very rare opportunity for hands-on exposure to one of Latin America’s most important conservation areas!  So don’t miss out!  We look forward to seeing you soon on the Osa!

Cover Photo: Alan Dahl

Birds, Volunteers and Visitors

Osa Peninsula Christmas Bird Count

Red-lored Parrots

This year Friends of the Osa organized the first annual Costa Rica Osa Peninsula Christmas Bird Count, a more than century long Audubon Society tradition.  This year actually marks the 111th Audubon CBC and on December 17th 2010 Friends of the Osa along with Osa Peninsula lodges, the Osa Peninsula Birders Association, Osa bird experts and enthusiasts headed out at dawn and dusk to count as many birds that could be seen, heard or flushed out from under foot.

All throughout the Americas citizen scientist volunteers from Canada down through Argentina come out, in some parts of the world in frigid cold temperatures, to count birds on one single day between December 14th and January 5th as part of a long running tradition in avian conservation and science.  Those of us here in the tropics didn’t need to worry about freezing temperatures.  We were out instead in t-shirts, shorts and our signature black rubber boots with the same eagerness to document the birds of the Osa this year and for years to come.

Common Tody-Flycatcher

We covered an area the size of a 15 mile diameter circle that included Puerto Jimenez, Playa Sandalo, Dos Brazos, Matapalo, the National Wildlife Refuge and Carate just south of Corcovado National Park.  Each participant walked routes and trails through lush tropical rainforest, palm and almond tree lined beaches, lagoons, creeks and rivers that run through one of the most biodiverse areas on the planet; the Osa Peninsula.

The Christmas Bird Count helps protect bird species and their habitats.  Data collected from volunteers is used by biologists and other interested parties to study the long-term health and status of bird populations throughout the Americas and to see how populations have changed over time and space over the last 111 years.  Scientists have used CBC data to detect birds in decline from fragmentation and/or loss of habitat and effects on populations from climate change as well.  We will now be able to include Osa birds in Audubon’s database to help protect and conserve them for years to come.

We would like to thank Luna Lodge, Bosque del Rio Tigre Lodge, Iguana Lodge, Lapa Rios, Bosque del Cabo, El Remanso, the Osa Peninsula Birding Association, and many individuals that participated in the count.  Lets do it again next year!

For more information and history on the Audubon Christmas Bird Count visit

Also visit our website at

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