Refugio de Los Angeles is the home to many bird species. Over the years, dedicated birders have visited the property. Prominent among them is naturalist and author, Michael Godfrey.

Photograph of Michael Godfrey on a trail with a tripod and camera IMG_3423

Godfrey writes about his birding experiences at Refugio de Los Angeles:

“Refugio de Los Angeles is perfectly located for bird sightings. The sharp elevational change from sea level to the high ridges of Quebrada Grande is a key to high density biodiversity. The ascending landscape presents different climates, soils, and plant communities which sustain birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles obligate to those communities. Remember too that many of North America’s birds migrate to winter in the tropics, further boosting Quebrada Grande’s diversity with birds familiar to the U.S. as well as those endemic to Central America. Also, Refugio de Los Angeles is a great place to observe Bergmann’s Rule at work — Biodiversity is richest near the equator and decreases northward. The natural heritage of upper elevations on the Nicoya Peninsula has seen good stewardship through a benign agricultural history and enlightened national policy.”

Photograph of a dark blue bird with a black tail and black head perched in a thicket of branches.
Violaceous Trogon

Michael Godfrey is an accomplished bird videographer who has produced videos for the National Audubon Society. One of his popular videos is the “National Audubon Society Video Guide to 258 Birds of North America”.

Photograph of a Lineated Woodpecker in a tree. The Lineated Woodpecker has a large bright red crown.
Lineated Woodpecker
Photo of Michael Godfrey on the porch of the main house at Refugio de Los Angeles with video and audio recording devices on a tripod
Michael Godfrey

When Godfrey visits Refugio de los Angeles he often prefers to spend the evening in a hammock on the front porch to be closer to the birds he loves to observe.


“The pleasure of sleeping in the drift of ideal temperatures and the music of night birds followed by the dawn chorus that greets the day at Refugio de Los Angeles is the most beautiful of sounds.”

Man in Hammock 1_edited-1

Operation Ruby-throat

In the winter of 2008 educator-naturalist Dr. William Hilton spent the day at Refugio de Los Angeles with his research team catching, banding and releasing hummingbirds for his field study on migration patterns of the ruby-throated hummingbird. Dr. Hilton was pleased to find an active hummingbird population in residence on the property. Within an hour of their arrival, Dr. Hilton and his associates observed nine species of hummingbirds. (

Loudon Wilson, co-owner of Refugio de Los Angeles, with Dr. William Hilton.

IMG_4314.JPG - Version 2

During the past 10 years, Dr. Hilton has led more than 2000 U.S., Canadian, and Costa Rican citizen scientists on 24 Neotropical hummingbird field expeditions, (through Oct., 2014), including 12 to Guanacaste Province, Costa Rica. There he became the first researcher to systematically band and observe ruby-throats on their non-breeding grounds in the tropics; 798 ruby-throated hummingbirds have been banded in Guanacaste. (Hilton Pond Center for Piedmont Natural History)

Setting up nets to capture hummingbirds.
Naturalist Ernesto Carman retrieving a hummingbird from net.
Naturalist Ernesto Carman retrieving a hummingbird from net.

Banding the hummingbird is a skill few are qualified to do. Dr. Hilton accomplishes this feat with calm precision. One of a select group of “master banders” in the United States, Dr. Hilton received his certification from the U.S. Bird Banding Labratory, part of the U.S. Geological Survey.

Dr. Hilton banding a ruby-throat hummingbird at Refugio de Los Angeles.

 Bird Watching at Refugio de Los Angeles

Friends and valued teachers, Linda and Ernie Carman are owners of Cafe Cristina, an organic coffee farm in Paraiso, Costa Rica.  ( The Carmans have visited  Refugio de Los Angeles on many occasions. Their son, Ernesto, is one of Costa Rica’s outstanding naturalists and bird guides. On a rare break from leading birding tours all over Costa Rica, Ernesto spent a brief time at Refugio de Los Angeles. On a warm afternoon during the dry season he rested in the shade of the main house front porch and did what he does best! In the span of a few hours, he sighted 72 different bird species.

Ernesto for SLBD

Refugio De Los Angeles, Quebrada Grande, Guanacaste
Compiled By E.M. Carman on 31-March-2002.

(all of the photographs of birds that appear in this list were taken by Michael Godfrey on Refugio de Los Angeles, except where otherwise noted.)

Thicket Tinamou Crypturellus cinnamonmeus
Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura
Black Vulture Coragyps atratus
Tiny Hawk Accipiter superciliosus
White Hawk Leucopternis albicollis
Gray Hawk Asturina nitida
White-bellied Chachalaca Ortalis leucogastris
Red-billed Pigeon Columba flavirostris
Inca Dove Columbina inca
White-tipped Dove Leptotila verreauxi
Orange-fronted Parakeet Aratinga canicularis
Orange-chinned Parakeet Brotogeris jugularis
White-fronted Parrot Amazona albifrons
Photo of a young girl with a pet parakeet perched on her head
Elisabel Vargas with pet parakeet. (photograph by Cis Wilson)
Squirrel Cuckoo Piaya cayana
Groove-billed Ani Crotophaga sulcirostris
Photograph of a Groove-Billed Ani
Groove-Billed Ani.
Pacific Screech-Owl Otus cooperi
Mottled Owl Ciccaba virgate
Pauraque Nyctidromus albicollis
Little Hermit Phaethornis longuemareus
Canivet’s Emerald Chlorostilbon canivetii
Steely-vented Hummingbird Amazilia saucerrottei
Cinnamon Hummingbird Amazilia rutile
Ruby-throated Hummingbird Archilochus colubris
Photo of a Cinnamon hummingbird perched on a bramch
Cinnamon hummingbird.
Black-headed Trogon Trogon melanocephalus
Elegant Trogon Trogon elegans
Photograph of a Turquoise-browed Motmot on a tree limb. The Motmot is multi-colored, red, orange, turquise, brown and white, with an unusually long turquoise tail feather.
Turquoise-browed Motmot.
Turquoise-browed Motmot Eumomota superciliosa
Blue-crowned Motmot Momotus momota
Photograph of a bird with a yellow body, green and blue wings, a black face and a blue crown.
Blue-crowned Motmot.
Collared Aracari Pteroglossus torquatus
Hoffmann’s Woodpecker Melanerpes hoffmannii
Pale-billed Woodpecker Campephilus guatemalensis
Streak-headed Woodcreeper Lepidocolaptes souleyetii
Barred Antshrike Thamnophilus doliatus
Masked Tityra Tityra semifasciata
Long-tailed Manakin Chiroxiphia linearis
Photograph of a Great Kiskadee perched on a tree limb
Great Kiskadee.
Tropical Kingbird Tyrannus melancholicus
Piratic Flycatcher Legatus leucophaius
Boat-billed Flycatcher Megarhynchus pitangua
Bright-rumped Attila Attila spadiceus
Streaked Flycatcher Myiodynastes maculatus
Social Flycatcher Myiozetetes similis
Great Kiskadee Pitangus sulphuratus
Brown-crested Flycatcher Myiarchus tyrannulus
Nutting’s Flycatcher Myiarchus nuttingi
Dusky-capped Flycatcher Myiarchus tuberculifer
Yellow-olive Flycatcher Tolmomyias sulphurescens
Northern Beardless  Tyrannulet Camptostoma imberbe
Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica
White-throated Magpie Jay Calocitta formosa
Photo of a White-throated Magpie-Jay.
White-throated Magpie-Jay.
Rufous-naped Wren Campylorhynchus rufinucha
Plain Wren Thryothorus modestus
Rufous-and-white Wren Thryothorus rufalbos
House Wren Troglodytes aedon
Clay-colored Robin Turdus grayi
Swainson’s Thrush Catharus ustulatus
Orange-billed Nightingale Thrush Catharus aurantiirostris
Photograph of a Clay-colored Robin, the national bird of Costa Rica
Clay-colored Robin, this humble looking bird is the national bird of Costa Rica.
White-lored Gnatcatcher Polioptila albiloris
Yellow-throated Vireo Vireo flavifrons
Yellow-green Vireo Vireo flavoviridis
Black-and-white Warbler Mniotilta varia
Tennessee Warbler Vermivora peregrine
Yellow Warbler Dendroica petechial
Rufous-capped Warbler Basileuterus rufifrons
Scrub Euphonia Euphonia affinis
Thick-billed Euphonia Euphonia laniirostris
Blue-gray Tanager Thraupis episcopus
Summer Tanager Piranga rubra
Western Tanager Piranga ludoviciana
Red-crowned Ant-Tanager Habia rubica
Indigo Bunting Passerina cyanea
Painted Bunting Passerina ciris
Yellow-faced Grassquit Tiaris olivacea
Olive Sparrow Arremonops rufivirgatus
Photograph of a Bare-throated Tiger-Heron on the water's edge.
Bare-throated Tiger-Heron. (photographed at Playa San Miguel.)

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