Las Pruebas y Tribulaciones de Squawkero

Last night we enjoyed a lovely, exhilaratingly pseudo-bilingual (our friend’s aptitude for English far exceeds our poor excuse for Spanish) evening with friends, who were willing to brave both darkness and drizzle to negotiate the serpentine approach to our home in Atenas. It turned into a late night for us old fogies, so sleeping in was an anticipated luxury … when the local wildlife decided to kick us out of bed. Our friends, who had been equally late to retire, of course, had to get up early to go to work. 

Mother Nature’s balance sheet?

Great Kiskadee, Pitangus sulphuratus, Linnaeus 1766, Tyrannidae

Our resident Great Kiskadee, Squawkero, was having a party of his own right outside our bedroom. And when he’s around, you can’t miss it! Flycatchers are well known for their very distinctive “here I am, look at me” call, which they’re not shy to repeat endlessly as they hunt. Squawkero is very self-possessed and vocal, whereas his mate is quiet and vocalizes much more softly.

Scanning the pool for wiggly insects – they only feed on living prey


“Now, what is that?” Squawkero asked,




“That bird looks like me!”



“Darn interloper!”
A bounder, a stranger, had landed right in our Squawkero’s territory. He was thumbing his beak at Squawkero and making goo-goo eyes at Mrs. Squawkero. The interloper displayed his crown feathers very prettily and tried hard to be one of the gang. But our Squawkero wouldn’t buy. No way!
“Listen, Buster, stay away from my bird, got it?”                                                                  “Woman, swallow that moth and stop gawking at his skinny legs!”


“Don’t look now, he’s taking his coat off. What is he thinking?? Just because he has an Elvis’ hairdo he can move in? Stop making these enticing slurping sounds with that insect … geez”


“That’s better, let’s tell him that there’s a chickenhawk overhead, going for his chicken legs.”


“Okay, my love, you fly home to the kids. I’ll entertain Elvis a while longer, then I send him over to Manuel Antonio. Great beach there, lots of chicks. Look at him, still worried about that imaginary hawk. I do envy him his crown feathers, though. Very elegant, don’t you think?” 


“Sorry, buddy, she had to take off. Sick youngster at home, you know how it is.”


“Coming to ‘Tonio with you? Cool, appreciate you wanting me to come along, but she’d kill me for sure!”


“Take that dead bug with you on the road. Parting present, jajajajajajajaja*!                          ¡Hasta la vista, compañero!”



Our Squawkero is a smart fellow. He doesn’t trust Chicken-Leg-Elvis at all. So he hides on the roof to keep a sharp eye out for that fishy fellow.



[* Squawkero is a Tico, so he laughs in Spanish: ja ja ja = ha ha ha; there is no ‘h’ in Spanish pronunciation]








2 thoughts on “Las Pruebas y Tribulaciones de Squawkero

  1. Sibling Great Kiskadee, Squawkeros fly around my place and perch on my clothes line. One female loves to ram her head into the living room window attacking her own reflection countless times a day. She has done it for months now, and I truly think it has made her a little batty. My cat witnesses this spectacle with its mouth open… waiting… hoping.


  2. That´s so funny! Love your story!!!
    Would like to have this “scenario” early in the morning.
    Great shots and imagination. I hear them, talking to each other.
    Remember “my Mr and Mrs Cardinal” in Texas, defending their
    territory. Birds are so clever!


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