Home > Costa Rica > Monteverde and sighting of the rare resplendent quetzal

Monteverde and sighting of the rare resplendent quetzal

I am not a birder. My birding experience is limited to watching The Big Year starring Jack Black, Steve Martin, and Owen Wilson. However my travel guide piqued my interest in the resplendent quetzal by saying seeing one is one of the top experiences to be had in Costa Rica.

Our host Jen at Hidden Canopy Treehouses arranged a guide for us to experience the cloud forest. She often works with Koky who was the guide who shared the first through his eyes. His eyes are well trained as he's lived in Monteverde his entire life and has been guiding people and continually learning more about ecology for 25 years.

Koky and Me spotting birds

The biggest advantage in hiring Koky was that he knew how to spot the birds. We would have seen 5% of what he showed us if we had been hiking by ourselves. He's able to spot the birds with his naked eye and then set up a telescope for you to get an up close look. He'll surprise you with the quality of a photo taken with your iPhone when its held next to the lens of a powerful telescope

Of course the context and background Koky provided on all the flora and fauna was useful. I could appreciate I was looking a hard to find bird or know the electronic sounding horn was the first appearance of the bell bird this season.

Tips to spotting the resplendent quetzal:

  • Hire Koky through Jen at Hidden Canopy Treehouses
  • Skip Monteverde and go to the Curi-Cancha preserve instead
  • Take the first left off the trail to find the giant and exposed avocado tree where the quetzal roost (they love avocados!)
  • Go “in season” the birds are only on the Pacific side of the continental divide part of the year. We spotted our birds in March

Here's an iPhone photo of one of the four male resplendent quetzals we saw.



Categories: Costa Rica
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