About 20 years ago while living in Minas Gerais, Brazil, I was visiting a city called Caxambu when I saw a free roaming, small green parrot making a loud ruckus high up in a palm tree. I nearly freaked out! I had never seen a parrot in the wild and I was bound and determined to see more. Little did I know, the bird was the White-eyed parakeet and is almost as common as the house sparrow. I didn’t care. In the United State, we don’t have parrots, parakeets, macaws or any sort of exotic bird commonly flying around. I’m still thrilled to see them no matter how ubiquitous they may be! It was a dream come true.
All birders have their long list of dream birds they need to see “before they die.” Some will travel hundreds of miles, pay thousands of dollars and go to great lengths to simply get a glimpse. Some of us even drag along huge cameras and lenses in a futile attempt at getting decent photographs. I’m no different although my Dream List and my ability to see them might be slightly more limited than most. Since I was a Fruit-Loop loving child, I’ve always wanted to see a bird resembling Toucan Sam. I nearly drove off the side of the road when I saw my first Toco Toucan frantically flapping it’s wings in a seemingly useless effort to stay aloft. I pulled over to get a better view but it was too late. The big beaked bird had already started fading into the horizon with only its orange beak appearing to float off all by itself. In the Cerrado (Brazilian Savanna) in Brazil, the distant floating orange beak of the Toco Toucan is a common site. When you get close, you see they are attached to a black body that seems totally out of proportion to the laws of nature and aviation. Since then, I’ve seen many, many more…some right from my open window in the concrete forests of Brasilia, the capital. Rare, no. Hard to find, no. Threatened, apparently not anymore. Just recently, I saw a Red-Breasted Toucan in the Atlantic Rainforest near Sao Paulo. What a thrill! My next target will be to see and photograph the mini-toucans, the Toucanets and Aracaris.
This late June, Birding is the World Brazil will be heading on an epic journey to the Brazilian Atlantic Rainforest, Ceara in NorthEast Brazil and to the world’s largest wetlands, The Pantanal. I have one dream bird that I have searched for but have not had the pleasure of seeing yet. The Harpy Eagle is top of the list for the next dream bird to observe, admire and photograph. We’ll have a great chance in seeing one because our guide is fantastic and we are going at a great time of the year. I encourage everyone to write down a list of birds they truly dream of seeing. It makes the adventure so much more worthwhile while at the same time giving yourself a goal to follow. Stay tuned to the blog, Instagram and Facebook to see if accomplish our mission this time!
White-eyed parakeet flying in the sky
Toco toucan in a palm tree