Montezuma Oropendola by Simon Elliott
Montezuma Oropendola Psarocolius montezuma has it all: fantastic name, fantastic plumage, fantastic nest and fantastic song. Thus it was a hit-list species on our memorable month long trip through Costa Rica in 2018. Unfortunately they quite like to nest colonially in big trees near human habitation, so my recording was made in a hotel car park near Turrialba in the Central Cordillera region. Staying for two nights, I managed a couple of dawn sessions with them, placing a pair of Brady Primo 172 mics AB at 40cm on top of a hedge, into a SONY PCM-M10. Unfortunately this was also close to the kitchen, and I had a refridgeration unit which was 3 minutes on/3 minutes off. This was not the best behavioural sequence but the only one free of noise for the required two minutes for the competition. The birds are constantly moving through the canopy from before dawn with deep wing beats; the males cling to the pendulous nests then suddenly turn upside down to utter the song. Someone recently described it perfectly, as if the birds were vomiting this amazing sound.