Araçari Alert

Starting today, I am moving forward and refocusing on pura vida with a first plunge into the lap pool this year! The water is still a little murky, granted, but in those high-end spas people pay top dollar for algae packs and assorted nonsense. I figure a few greenish clouds won’t do me any harm. Thank you, dear friend Ing. Bernal Solano Segura, for spending all those weekend hours on damage repair!!

I also had the distinct pleasure this morning to observe a bird, Pteroglossus frantzii, Ramphastidae, a Fiery-billed Araçari, which I had never before seen in the wild. For a few days now I’ve been aware of a loud, fairly high-pitched squeegeeing vocalization early in the mornings.

[grammarly wants me to change the sound description to screeching, but that’s not what it sounds like. It sounds like a two-tone squeegee on my glass shower door. Judge for yourselves: Pteroglossus frantzii sound]

Every time I looked for the associated bird, though, I saw at best a blur flying off. I didn’t even suspect the presence of another toucan species in the neighborhood because I had hitherto only seen keel-billed toucans around here. Not so this morning!

When I heard the squeegee song again today, and really close by, I rose from my desk chair in slow motion and sidled over to the cabinet where I keep my camera equipment. The sounds continued while I attached a zoom lens and very, very slowly straightened up to look over the hedge bordering the patio outside my open sliding doors. And sure enough, there she was in colorful splendor.


But there was a screen door between us, making my vantage point less than ideal. The guarumo tree that provided a wonderful playground, feeding station and rain shelter for all kinds of birds last year, allowed me to be hidden from view to some degree while taking pictures, but it sadly died in the fires. The two trees left are not well located for a successful photo shoot. One is below my line of sight, the other spreads it’s crown above the terrace and roof, so I’m immediately discovered by sharp bird’s eyes, like her’s. If I stepped outside now or even opened the screen, I’d be right in front of her and she’ll be gone in an instant.

So I snuck out on the far side, advancing toward the corner of the house under cover of the hedge, only to discover that she had hopped up into the high tree while I was busy creeping around.


But at least she was still around and searching for breakfast. Good! My only choice now was to try to hide behind a roof support post. Pretty optimistic on my part, considering I was wearing a flowy white nightgown and the narrow steel post is black. Oh well, Migaloo spotting in my own back yard … but she stayed put for 40 more seconds and these pictures.

oggling the fruit stand above her head
Ogling the fruit stand above her head.
Got a piece!
Got a piece!
One can see the naked skin around the eye quite well here.
One can see the naked skin surrounding her eye quite well here. The 3/4 closed nictitating membrane is also visible.
Swallowed the piece of fruit
That fruit slides down easily, delicious stuff that guarumo mush.
Anything else tasty around here?
Anything else tasty around here?
Let's see now ...
… white whales?
Look up, girl. Fruit hang high and aren't white.
Get a grip, girl. Who could handle fruit that plump!
No, I guess that's it for around here. Ready for take-off!
I guess that’s it for around here. Ready for take-off!


[Migaloo spotting globally]

2 thoughts on “Araçari Alert

  1. I love the squeegee bird. When I was really little I had a picture book called “The Little Squeegee Bug”. The insects wore very Fifties shiny black shoes. That’s all I remember, but I love the sound of “squeegee”!


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