It’s always win-win situation when you can get something cool and support what you love at the same time. This is why so many of us coffee drinking birders love to buy bird-friendly shade grown coffee, and why we would rather purchase products that support habitat for birds. It’s especially nice when we can buy high quality bird art that supports research and conservation because what birder wouldn’t love to see portraits of their favorite species on the walls of their nest? Who wouldn’t love to have posters showing beautiful tropical species? Whether those paintings remind us of what we would rather be doing or just add the right sort of avian flavor to the personal nest, pictures of birds are an essential accent for the home of every birder.

In Costa Rica, thanks to a new, local endeavor that blends art with conservation, I can admire some high quality bird art and know that my purchase helps with important research for conservation. Started by my friend and colleague Diego Quesada, “CaraCara” is a local business that creates high quality products related to birding where part of the proceeds are for research and conservation. The name of the company was inspired by a bird that has become rare in Costa Rica and other parts of its range, the Red-throated Caracara. Unlike caracaras of open country habitats, the Red-throated needs large areas of tropical forest and bucks the usual caracara opportunistic trend by mostly foraging on wasp nests.

Red-throated Caracara and the name of the conservation project run by CaraCara.

Such picky specialization has undoubtedly led to the disappearance and diminishing of this species in many areas, Costa Rica included. To give an idea of the extent to which some birds can be affected by habitat loss, although the Red-throated Caracara was historically common in many parts of Costa Rica and Central America to southern Mexico, it has totally disappeared from much of that part of its range. It is still regular in large forested areas of the Amazon and the Darien but even there seems to only persist in areas with large blocks of unbroken forest. In Costa Rica, although we still need to learn more about where remaining populations might occur, the only ones known at the time of writing are in the heart of the forests of the Osa Peninsula and in northern Costa Rica.

Diego and other volunteers have been monitoring the very small population in the north since 2013 but for adequate eventual restoration and protection of this species, more information is needed. How large of a range do these birds have? How were they able to persist in the fragmented forests of the northern part of their range? Are there certain tree species that provide better habitat for their food source? Where else do they occur in Costa Rica?

To help populations of this species in Costa Rica and elsewhere, we need to find the answers to these and other questions as soon as possible. On the bright side of the caracara equation, now, we can help find those answers by purchasing bird posters from CaraCara.

This is one of three posters currently available.

Upon taking the poster out of the box, I was immediately impressed by the quality of the paper. Partly made from algae, the paper used for the posters is both durable and 100% sustainable.

The beautiful accurate illustrations are by Andrew Guttenberg and show fine details and colors I haven’t seen in some other posters. Unlike posters with glossy paper, these ones are more like prints of high quality paintings and therefore perfect for the wall of a den and places of business.

Classy and elegant, each poster also comes with a small sheet of information for the birds shown.

The other two posters currently available.

Several local birders and businesses have already purchased this quality bird art. Once tourism gets back into gear in Costa Rica, this elegant avian decor will also act as high quality souvenirs that double as funding for research and conservation of the Red-throated Caracara. However, to acquire these beautiful posters, hopefully, birders won’t need to wait to visit Costa Rica. Soon, they will also be available for purchase and shipping within the USA. Keep an eye on the CaraCara website for more information about that as well as other birding products being developed by this innovative, local company.