Birders, as you probably already know, really get around. I don’t mean that in a promiscuous way — who am I to judge? — but rather in a strictly geographical sense. To be a birder sometimes feels like having a backstage pass to the hidden highways of the world. We scan and scour those lonely corners where our civilized neighbors never tread, the lost pockets of habitat tucked here and there but too often ignored. Who else spends as much time at garbage dumps and sewage treatment plants as we do and loves every minute of it? Who else spends as much time at the beach… in winter?!?

On the other hand, to be a birder is to truly understand the grandeur of this big, big world we live in. Bird watching can take you anywhere and anywhere you watch birds is a place you understand intimately. We see countries as more than just locales for landmarks and landmarks as more than just souvenirs of  bygone cultures (have you ever birded Tikal in Guatemala? Awesome!) Birding opened up Central America for me in a way that nothing else did. Perhaps you’ve had the same experience. Once you understand the mind-boggling biodiversity of the area beyond toucans and parrots, you realize how special Central America is. That’s why Costa Rica is at the top of every single birder’s list of desperately desired destinations. Lucky Patrick O’Donnell lives in Costa Rica and, as a guide, gets to enjoy the epic avifauna of that exquisite country. Luckily for us, he’s also a bird blogger who generously shares his sightings with a hungry audience. Last but not least, he is, at least for today, the host of I and the Bird. Enjoy a special St. Patrick’s Day — what did you expect from someone named Patrick O’Donnell — edition of I and the Bird #146!

The next edition of I and the Bird is coming back home to 10,000 Birds. However, I’m adding a special bonus assignment for everyone, not just the bird bloggers:

1. If you blog about birds, you are invited as always to submit a link and summary to your best recent post about birding or wild birds to me (mike AT 10000birds DOT com) for inclusion in the next edition of IATB. The deadline for this is Tuesday, March 29.

2. Anyone, bird blogger or not, is invited to share names, photos, and thoughts about their most maddening Little Brown Jobs. Which small brown birds have you found most baffling to identify? I’m writing a post to celebrate LBJs around the world and want YOUR input. Everyone is welcome to participate, especially people outside North America. Send your ideas, insights, images, and what name and link you want included to me (mike AT 10000birds DOT com) by next Thursday, March 24.

Written by Mike
Mike is a leading authority in the field of standardized test preparation, but he's also a traveler who fully expects to see every bird in the world. Besides founding 10,000 Birds in 2003, Mike has also created a number of other entertaining but now extirpated nature blog resources, particularly the Nature Blog Network and I and the Bird.