One of the most memorable times of my life was when I visited the Hummingbird Gallery at Monteverde on the Pacific Slope of Costa Rica.
We had spent quite a while walking round the marvelous cloud forest for which Monteverde is justly famous. There were wonderful birds there to behold including the gorgeous Resplendent Quetzal – a scarce trogon that the indigenous peoples believe swabbed the blood of their slaughtered ancestors with their breast feathers, before fleeing to the mountains to escape the bloodthirsty conquistadors.
The only trouble was that the birds were hard to find and even when you found them, the views were fleeting and mostly distant. Occasionally a hummingbird would zoom past, but blink and you missed them.
The gallery was altogether different. Literally a forest full of hummers visited to gorge on the feast of sugared water that an artillery bank of feeders contained. You could see more than half a dozen species as simple as that and get amazing views of their colours and habits. I loved watching their throats move as they gulped down copious quantities of their high octane fuel.
Sometimes you’ve got to go out and find the birds. Sometimes you draw them in. It’s all about knowing which tactic to use and when. A bit like marketing really!