One of the amazing things about birding around the world is the sense of connectivity you get. I work at Valle Crucis Community Park as the Park Naturalist when I’m not leading birding tours, and the Park has recorded an impressive 182 species of birds. Of those birds 114 can also be found in Costa Rica!
One of the first birds we spotted on our most recent Costa Rica Tour was a juvenile Broad-winged Hawk sitting on a power line. There is a good chance it was one of the tens of thousands of hawks that migrated down the Appalachians this past September, and we might have seen this same bird soaring past Valle Crucis! The many warblers that breed at the Park also migrate to the tropics each winter. I’ve seen Yellow Warblers, Chestnut-sided Warblers, Black-throated Green Warblers, and many others, even some of the rare NC visitors like Wilson’s Warblers, wintering in Costa Rica. It can be a bit of a strange experience to see a mixed flock of tropical tanagers, woodcreepers, and ant-shrikes moving through the rainforest and then notice several Chestnut-sided Warblers in the flock; or hear a rustle in the fallen leaves, stalk the sound to it’s well-hidden source, and realize it was a Swainson’s Thrush that caught our attention!