A few days before we left for Costa Rica, I was chatting with Heather and she said, “When you get here we have to go look for the Jabirus!”. “The WHAT???”, I said, thinking she had lost her mind. I did a quick Google and was surprised to see a stork. I jumped back to my chat window and typed “oh wow, a stork!” but it came out “w5o4k” or something like that – in my excitement I had shifted my left hand onto the wrong row of keys.
Adult Jabiru stork in Costa Rica (photo by Heather using JoBel’s camera)
If you think seeing a picture of a Jabiru on your computer screen is exciting, seeing them in person (in bird?) is 10 times better.
Our arrival in Costa Rica was delayed one day because of a nor’easter that dropped about 18″ of snow in our area. That gave Heather some time to go scout for the Jabiru based on directions someone had given her. “Go past the dirt road and look for the tree that’s just past the dead frog on the road.” OK, maybe not quite that vague, but keep in mind that there are no addresses in Costa Rica. A lawyer that we met gave us her address as ’50 meters north of the national bank on avenue 5!’
Anyway, Heather didn’t find the Jabirus on her scouting mission because she apparently missed the dead frog. The next day, however, we were successful. We went just a little farther down the road and there, up in the tree, was a giant nest with two Jabirus, an adult and one chick!
The chick must be close to fledging because it was practicing with jumping and flapping (flumping?). Here’s a short video of what we witnessed.
(You may want to let the video render completely and then watch it)
They are very tall; in fact, whereas the Whooping Crane is the tallest bird in North America, the Jabiru is the tallest flying bird in Central and South America. They are not endangered, but there are only about 100 Jabirus in Costa Rica, making them the highlight of our trip!