A Happy Reunion

serendipity in Costa Rica

I arrived at my little paradise of Playa Lagartillo on Costa Rica’s west coast a few days ago, where I resumed my cherished simple routine of rising with the sun and strolling the dusty, 150-meter-long path to the beach, where I stay until the shade disappears. This morning, as I meditated prior to departure, I heard my only local ‘friend’ calling: Amazon (see 2022.03.28 blogpost – “The Wise Bird”). So I slipped on shoes, and hurried to the path where we met last March.

I first saw Amazon (an Amazon Parrot) last March, perched on a thick branch overhanging the path and approached cautiously as it followed me with its ‘side eye’. Then, I didn’t want to frighten it away, as sometimes happens in my eagerness to connect with the Wild Kingdom.

“Hola! Hola!” Amazon screeched from the path this morning as I sat on my porch, one hundred meters distant. It was that familiar ‘voice’ that wrested me from my not-entirely-profound meditative state. I’d walked down that path twice a morning for the past three days calling out ‘Hola!’ as I walked to the beach, hoping to encounter my ‘friend’, but to no avail. Had it noticed my presence and was happy I’d returned? Or did it simply show up there periodically to supervise the small flock of smaller parrots that flit about energetically, little interested in the humans that pass?

When I arrived, Amazon was again perched on a tree branch. We bantered for a bit, limited to a one-word conversation. While parrots are intelligent, Amazon hadn’t deigned to expand their (I’m striving for political correctness as I anthropomorphize) vocabulary during the past year. But the same accusation could perhaps be launched at me! Once Amazon became more comfortable, they extended their red-and-blue edged wings and glided to the fence on the other side of the path, landing on a filament of barbed wire. It was difficult for Amazon to get a clawhold there, so it sidled over to the nearest fencepost, where we continued to examine one another at close (touching distance) range.

The variety of feather textures and forms fascinated me. It may well be a similar situation with all birds, but I spend very little time interacting with them. Amazon’s back and tail seemed composed of similarly shaped feathers. These had dark lime-green rachises (spines) and slightly paler vanes, with tail feathers elongated versions of back feathers. These appeared iridescent yellowish in the intense rays of the rising sun. Head feathers were so small and delicate that they invited touching, which I didn’t. This time! Like a discreet superhero, Amazon has a small yellow cape on the back of their neck that I imagined expanding and endowing them with superpowers, but I’m not sure which one(s).

After a few unsuccessful minutes of trying to expand Amazon’s vocabulary with my name and ‘te amo’, I made eating noises. Amazon apparently understood and smacked their tongue and beak, too. Breakfast time? I offered them bits of papaya (too sweet for me and also not Amazon’s preference), pineapple, and rice cake, which I remember them enjoying last visit. Amazon found the fruit cubes unwieldy and picked at the bits I placed on the fencepost, so I tore smaller bits and fed them by hand. Despite having a beak that appeared to have the tensile strength of a scrap metal shredder, Amazon  accepted with great gentleness the morsels of fruit I offered. Fruit fragments dribbled from their beak, as they might from the feeble lips of an old person or a toddler eating spagetti. I had an overwhelming desire to wipe the mess with the bit of paper towel I’d brought but refrained. While I found it perturbing, I figured that food dribbling from one’s beak isn’t a breach of etiquette in the bird realm.

When I pulled a rice cake from my pocket, Amazon stopped eating fruit and waited patiently while I opened the package and broke off a crispy bit. They extended their neck and grasped the delicacy with their beak, immediately transferring the morsel to their right claw (are there left-clawed parrots?) while balancing on their left with the composure of a dancer. The solidity of rice cakes made them tidier and apparently more easily manipulated by their small, narrow yet thick, black tongue. We chomped on our respective rice cakes for a few minutes and uttered a few hasta luego holas to one another before Amazon flew off and we went about our respective days. I can’t help wondering what Amazon perceives and when we’ll next meet. Might they be waiting for me tomorrow on my morning stroll to the beach?






By michellefacos

I am a multi-lingual art historian, consultant (art, travel, writing), editor, entrepreneur, lecturer, and writer who has lived along the shores of the Baltic, the Mediterranean, and Lake Erie, in New York and in Paris, and in the forests of Quebec and Sweden. While I’ve lived a semi-nomadic existence for the past few decades, I’m inching toward a life anchored in Europe.


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