This great bird has managed to escape from my sightings until I visited the great lodge of Tundaloma.  This Ecuadorian owned business provides a very comfortable and secure lodge to visit the most northern-western Chocó area in Ecuador. It is located on the highway that goes from Ibarra to San Lorenzo and it is approximately 17 km before San Lorenzo.  From here you can explore the lowland Chocó-birds of the surrounding reserves such as Reserva Forestal AWA and the Reserva Ecologica Cayapa Mataje.

The Crested Owl lives in the lodge surroundings and can be found by its reverberating call which I first heard just outside my room.  The first night I was not able to find him because he stopped calling as soon as I walked out.  The second night we got assistance from the lodge owner and his care-taker kids who knew his hidings.  In our first sighting the owl was hiding in the thicket of a tall tree.  We could see his long eyebrows and large eyes while he peeked below to find us.

Crested Owl in Tundaloma Lodge

To avoid shocking the owl we did not use flash but instead we used a flashlight which provided just enough light for those with sensitive cameras. After a few shots the owl felt somewhat confined in the tight space of the tree and he flew to a more open branch were we could get better photos.

Very cooperative Crested Owl – NO FLASH!

Since this show-off owl was so cooperative, and we had taken our best shots, we turn the flash light off and left him be.

Written by Renato
Renato was born in Quito, Ecuador and quickly flew to the USA to learn all about engineering and climbing company ladders. After getting his engineering degree from the University of Minnesota he worked in the Standard-American-Rat-Race-Company for fifteen years. After climbing the ladder to where he could no longer see the ground, he decided to jump off the ladder and migrate south like all normal birds do. To his surprise home did not look like it did when he left as a young fledgling; the towns were bigger, most of his friends had nests of their own, and the countryside was changed. Shocked by all the change he searched for a new life and a new wife. He stumbled across a vivacious young chick who would accompany him inside a volcanic crater to set up a love nest. So, after eight years of nesting inside the crater a new love for nature and birds has sprung a career in environmental conservation and birding tours. Finally this bird has come home to roost!