A Word from Nancy - April 2024

Rufous-naped Wren/ Soterrey Nuquirrufo

Rufous-naped Wren/ Soterrey Nuquirrufo

“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass…
It’s about learning to dance in the rain.”
-Vivian Greene

Well, I don’t know if this wren is dancing, but it is raining, and the bird looks as beautiful and graceful as a dancer to me.

There seems to be something about the human condition that results in us spending a lot of time longing for weather that isn't here right now: cool when it’s hot, dry when it’s wet, and any number of variations thal all have one thing in common: the belief that our life would be better if external things were different.

Most of you reading this newsletter are old enough to have learned that contentment needs to come from within. Hopefully we’ve learned that the only thing we can change is ourselves, and that both the weather and other people’s behavior is beyond our control. But in case you need a little nudge of remembrance from time to time, just think of the wren “dancing” in the rain.




I took this month’s photo just four days after March’s photo, also here at Finca Flor de Paz. This past January I had the opportunity to take a number of “birds in the rain” photos at Laguna del Lagarto Lodge here in Costa Rica. Here are some of my favorites:

Keel-billed Toucan

Red-legged Honeycreeper

Red-legged Honeycreeper
Black Vulture

Black Vulture

None of them are dancing; in fact the vulture looks downright dejected. Oh well, at least it was a warm wet.

Most birds do just fine in the rain, although some species are more water-resistant than others. Typically, the main body feathers, called contour feathers, are built so that the feather surface forms a fine, breathable but water-resistant mesh. This water-repellent property allows the downy bases of the same contour feathers, and other completely downy feathers, to stay dry underneath, allowing them to trap warm air (birdnote.org). These fluffy down feathers are what we humans have used for eons: in cold-weather clothing to trap warm air, and in pillows to cradle our heads.

Rain is on our minds here in Costa Rica these days. It’s the end of the dry season, and fire danger is very high. This morning there was a field fire just up the hill from us. The smoke was stinky, ashes fell like huge raindrops, and we could hear giant golden bamboo stalks exploding as their interior water turned to steam. Another reason to have native vegetation, rather than weedy grass that turns to tinder when there is no rain.

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