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Originally from Niagara Falls, New York, Patrick is a writer and birding guide who has worked in the travel and tourism industry from the cataracts of Niagara to the Peruvian Amazon. A serious birder since the age of 7, this passion has led him to Mexico, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Panama, the Dominican Republic, Thailand, and his current place of residence- Costa Rica. A biologist and systematist by training, Pat has worked on research projects in Colorado, New York, Wyoming, and Washington as well as in Peru. When not looking for birds in Costa Rica, he spends time with his wife and daughter and practices Chinese martial arts.

He can be reached at information@birdingcraft.com

Skype: patrick-odonnell

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37 Responses to “Contact Patrick O’Donnell”

  1. Hi, just dropping by to say hi. My dad and I like your blog quite a bit. I’m helping him get started with his own, actually – he is based near Turrialba. I just wanted to let you know that he recently posted about you and your blog (http://birdsforbeer.wordpress......a-birding/), if you want to check it out.
    Mariana
    (my dad’s name is Paul)

  2. Patrick,
    Your website has been hijacked by Chinese hackers. A few seconds after loading a page, I got taken to some Chinese page.

    By the way, I was born and raised in CR and wish you luck in that beautiful part of the world.

    * apta

  3. Hey there Patrick-
    Your blog is great! I saw some of your photos on Surfbirds. I need to come visit you soon. All is well in Buffalo – we are having an early spring. The hawkwatches have been busy and I just got my own banding license – raptors only for now. I am planning on opening my garden/nature shop on Elmwood or Hertel area this August/Sept. Hope your family is well. All the best, Alec

  4. Good to hear from you Alec. Can’t wait to hear about the stuff you band and the opening of the garden store! Yes, you need to come down and visit soon!

  5. Patrick,

    Very nice site! Congratulations on your lovely family and life in Costa Rica. What is the unofficial motto there? Pura vida?

    I’ve been living and working in the heart of southeastern Arizona for some time. The weather and the birds are great, but it doesn’t compare to Costa Rica!

    A work colleague traveled to the Osa Peninsula last autumn and enjoyed it tremendously. I told her to keep an eye and ear out for the three-wattled bellbird. She enjoyed an extended study after being alerted by several stoked lodge employees. She was amazed to say the least. Her experience has me seriously considering a birding trip to Costa Rica and/or Panama.

    Willie and Betsy visited last February. They’re doing well.

    Best regards, Mike

  6. Hey Mike! Good to hear from you. Man, you picked an awesome place to live. Costa Rica is great for birding but so is SE Arizona! That’s great that Willy and Betsy came down for a visit. Yeah, everyone here is always saying “Pura Vida” and it is pretty much the motto of Costa Rica.

    Yes, the Osa is fantastic. Very wild forests with lots of wildlife and of course awesome birding.

    Hope to see you down here sometime.
    Pat

  7. Do you run into any snakes while out birding, like the fer de lance?

  8. @Mike- Hi Mike! Yes, I see snakes every once in a while and on most trips to Quebrada Gonzalez.

  9. hello..

    I have been looking out for an Ornithologist from Mexico & Central America, who could help me with hummingbird and plant interactions.
    Will you be able to put me through to someone please ?

    best regards,
    sangeetha

  10. nice know about you, i like your blog

    Have a good day

  11. @Raul- Thanks! Have a good day too and keep taking pictures of Mexican birds. Yo pase bastante tiempo en Mexico en 95 y 96, viajando por el pais y mirando aves. Vivi en San Luis Potosi y Celaya por un rato donde ensene Ingles. Buenos tiempos esos!

  12. When out in the forest there, do you ever run into poisonous species like snakes or insects? For examole, the fer de lance?

  13. @Mike- Hi Mike! I rarely see any snakes and consider myself lucky to see a venomous one. They are around but prefer to stay hidden. Fer-de-lances are fairly common in many areas but you still have to search for them if you want to see them. No problem with the insects. Ants can sting and bite as can bees and wasps of course but you just keep that in mind and stay away from them. Also good to not touch or brush up against vegetation. Here is a post I did about poisonous snakes- http://birdingcraft.com/wordpr.....osta-rica/

  14. I have saved your website under Favorites. it is! I am coming on a tour in February 2013 and trying to learn about the birds before i come. Even tho I do not know you, I hope you and your family are safe and sound after the earthquake. Thank you for the beautiful pictures, great info, etc. Also, commentary @ the earthquake was very informative. Again, take care, be safe!

  15. @Sallyanne- Thanks and happy to hear that you will be visiting Costa Rica!

  16. Hi Pat:

    I’ve been reading about birding in Costa Rica and came across your site – it’s great! I like your writing style, and you seem to be a good birder who cares about birds AND habitat. I am a wildlife biologist but also an avid birder. I’m writing since my father has always wanted to fish in Costa Rica and is planning to go sometime early next year (Jan-Mar). I will hopefully go with him but have never been to Central America, so of course I have to go birding!

    I’d love to take 3-5 days before or after the fishing to go birding. Although I would love to target as many endemics as I can, my main goal will simply be to observe as many tropical birds as possible (I have 600+ from US and have seen most of the neotropic migrants found in US). Also want to hopefully get some nice photos as well.

    Would you be available to guide at that time? From what I have read and been told the later I go (toward end of March), the more variety I might observe. To do a really good trip, how many days would you recommend? And how would the cost be structured? As far as I know it will be just me, my Dad is not a birder. But I may try to recruit someone else so by the end of 2012 there may be another person who wants to go … so, are you able to guide 2 or more people, or do you prefer to keep it to 1 at a time?

    I hope to get a date for the fishing nailed down in next month, and will keep you posted and see if you are available.

    Thank you!
    Jeff

  17. @Jeff- I have emailed you with some answers to your questions. Yes, I guide more than one person at a time. March is good because more birds are singing and migrants are around but tours also go at that time because it is drier on the Pacific slope than other times of the year.

  18. Interested in hiring an experienced Bird Guide for a day or two between Nov 30 and Dec 8. We are staying in the Gunacaste Region at the Barcello Langosto. I would need a driver and car as we will not be renting one. Thanks Elise

  19. Patrick;
    Just read your essay on the difference between CR and temerate birding. Maybe one of the most concise and accurate descriptions…ever. Well done.

    Buying 20 acres bordering Las Cruces in San Vito next month, we hope.

    Regards; Greg

  20. Patrick,

    Further to our previous conversations – I would like to go birding with you when we dock in Punta Arenas. As previously advised, we dock at 0700hrs on the 30th April and sail at 1800hrs.
    Carara NP was mentioned which seems like a great idea – I read about a river close by for maybe herons / kingfishers?

    Wait to hear from you – all the best

    Paul

  21. @Paul- Sounds great, I am sure we will see a lot. Yes, there is a large river near there that is good for wading birds.

  22. Hello, My name is Marianna, I am going to doing a special event here on Some Sundays called breakfast with the birds. I live in Jaco and have a great view of many tropical and interesting birds. Some actually come right to the penthouse and eat out of my hands and other peoples. We have Toucans, Macaws, Cranes,Wrens, Kisskadees of course, Grackles, doves, wood peckers, ducks, Falcons, vultures, tanangers, and many more. My idea is this is a private venue its my house with a wrap around balcony that is huge many 20 people at one time, enter very early at 5:45 am this is when they are very active we would have great breakfast while enjoying the view and activity of all the birds. I have River view and Mountain view and ocean view. I Want to know if you are interested and if you could help in promoting this great private event? I am thinking to begin soon in OCT. Please let me know Marianna In Jaco

  23. Hi Patrick,

    I was in Costa Rica some years ago and I am a birdwatcher from Europe. I am trying to complete my personal bird list and I was wondering if you could help me with one question. I am looking for the bird name that we saw quite often in the streets of San Jose sitting on the electric wires. The bird was dark cloared, not shy and pretty big.

    If you have any idea could you please give me the name?

    Thanks a lot!
    Erwin Lenting
    The Netherlands

  24. @Erwin- Yes, those were Great-tailed Grackles.

  25. Hello Patrick.

    I have been reading your blog since I discovered it a little over a year
    ago. It has been one of the best things available on the Internet, featuring
    a great mix of birding hotspot tips, living the Tico way, and humorous bits
    that get me laughing out loud. It has also helped me daydream through nightmarish
    winters like the one currently affecting the Great Lakes region.

    I’m in Costa Rica now, heading to El Tapir tomorrow morning and to two days
    at La Selva after that. Wish me luck, or better, wish me Snowcaps, Bell-
    birds and King Vultures.

    I was wondering if you were aware of a nice Central Valley spot that my
    wife and I stayed in two nights ago – the Hotel Mango Valley. We ended up tHere
    because Poas Lodge was full. It’s located north of Grecia at 1400 m above
    sea level. The back of the property abuts the forest around Volcan Poas, while
    the rest of the property features grassy areas, fruit trees, a Porterweed
    hedge (!) and a long treed lane way from the (paved) road. The place is very
    nice and reasonably priced.

    While there, I was surprised as to the quality of the birds. Here’s a list
    of the highlights, omitting the Great-tailed Grackles, Wilson’s Warblers
    , and other things you can see anywhere.

    Golden-browed Chlorophonias
    Blue-crowned Motmot
    Long-tailed Manakin
    Short-tailed Hawk
    Green-crowned Brilliant
    Black-throated Green Warbler
    Rufous-capped Warbler
    Greyish Saltator
    Buff-throated Saltator
    Masked Tityra
    Spotted Woodcreeper

    The Manakin was a lifer for me.

    If you’re passing through the area, check it out.

    Thanks again,

    David McNorton

  26. @David- Glad you like the blog and hope you got those targets. Thanks also for the info about the Mango Valley Hotel0 will be checking that out!

  27. The Dean and Garrigues book suggested Hooded Warbler is not that common in Costa Rica. I’m sure I saw one in the Grounds of the Natural lodge Cano Negro (a hotel that doesn’t quite live up to its name). Our river guide mamaged to find me Nicaraguan Grackle as well.

  28. @ Robert- Thanks for sharing that. Yes, pretty uncommon as a winter resident.

  29. Hi, Patrick, I got your name from our local Audubon leader. My husband and I will be in CR between 4/26 and 5/3. We are thinking of taking a 2 days birding trips with you. Do you have days available that week? We don’t mind joining with other birders if you happen to have one planned. Would you send me the itinerary and the cost? We will stay with my brother in San Jose. Thanks.
    Sincerely,
    Carol

  30. @Carol- I have sent you an email.

  31. Steve Greenfield
    July 14th, 2014 at 6:47 pm

    Hi, Patrick, I am thinking about birding in Costa Rica, and was glad to find your blog. One question I need to ask someone who knows CR: is late Fall a bad time to visit? I gather the rainy season is not over, and there are far fewer records on eBird from that time of year. Is that just because there are fewer visitors then, or because there’s less singing, etc.? Any other comments about time of year? (I see your blog entry on July.) I’m most interested in Central American specialties I wouldn’t have observed in South America, and don;t care that there will be fewer boreal migrants.

    Thanks,
    Steve

  32. @Steve- Typically, late fall is not the best time to visit Costa Rica because this is the rainiest time of the year. November is the worst but October and December can also be rough. It can be especially bad on the Caribbean slope. That said, it probably won’t rain the whole time and if you can work with rainy spells, can still see the same resident species as other times of the year.

  33. Steve Greenfield
    July 18th, 2014 at 9:26 pm

    Yikes, I thought the dry season started in December, and Lawson’s guide (which I got after I posted this question) says “there is no bad time to visit CR”. So this is not what I hoped to hear, but thanks a lot, that’s what I wanted to know. I am more interested in the highlands and south-Pacific side, but still doesn’t sound ideal.

  34. @Steve- It’s good to keep in mind that it can rain at any time of the year in Costa Rica, especially in the mountains and on the Caribbean slope but yes, I would say that October and November are the rainiest times of the year. That said, it shouldn’t rain the entire time and birds are more active in cloudy weather or days with showers than hot, sunny weather.

  35. Hi Patrick,
    Your website has been a wonderful source of information for us and has helped so much to enhance our trips to Costa Rica from the UK. I have recently tried to purchase the Costa Rican Birding Route (sending the purchase fee) and have had no response from the Rainforest Biodiversity Group at all despite several emails. I was wondering if you could offer me any advice on this.
    We’re looking forward to another trip in January so thanks again for all your helpful information.

    Kathy

  36. @Kathy- Glad to hear that the blog has helped. Sorry, I don’t have any connection with the CR Bird Route so can’t give much advice. Maybe posting on their Facebook page to try and get their attention?

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