A bad day birding is better than a day at the office

Welcome sign


In the thick of the tropical forest of Pipeline Road is the Panama Rainforest Discovery Center. It is here where you will pay your entry fee to use the tower, but it’s also where you will find cold drinks, some snacks, and even mostquito repellent.

There are even wash rooms!

But best of all, you can rest here, if you’d like, and just take in all the hummingbirds that visit the feeders.

We stopped by the Panama Rainforest Discovery Center to get lunch after we visited the tower that morning. Every Sunday they offer a fried fish lunch—sometimes with plantains and sometimes with rice—for only $12. The fish was fresh and delicious and nevermind that that the fish seemed to be looking at me. I devoured it.

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Fried fish sign

If you’re wondering: Why yes, the bees were still swarming me. I felt like that Peanuts character, Pig Pen, who walked around surrounded by his own private cloud of dust, but for me it was a cloud of bees. The nectar in the feeders was drawing them to the Center and the bees from hell found me.  So I just gave up trying to take photos and stayed clear of the feeders.

Yet, before giving up, I managed to get a nice shot of this guy:

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Violet-bellied Hummingbird

You know, sometimes, the cards are just against you for a day and this was one of those mornings, but my bad day of birding as bees tormented me is still better than a day at the office.

Plus, there was a tree full of all these butterflies and swallowtails and who isn’t happy when they see butterflies? (Unless you’re dead inside.)

Listen to our guide, Beny Wilson describe each of the species on this video.

Here’s another nice shot of that hummingbird.

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Violet-bellied Hummingbird

You know those people who were racing through Pipeline Road for the season opener of The Amazing Race? It’s too bad they were sprinting through the jungle, climbing up and down the tower to get their next clue and instructions. Do you ever think they’ll realize what they missed? I bet there were howler monkeys above them in the trees, sloths lazily dangling, puffbirds, toucans and caciques calling and they probably missed it all. They missed the fantastic fish fry and the hummingbirds within inches of their faces. They even missed the bees.

Sure, it’s nice to race around the world in hopes of getting a million dollars, but do you really see anything?

I’ve told Steve on numerous occasions that we could never do The Amazing Race. We’d totally lose right out the gates because we’d be too busy looking through our binoculars at the birds.

(Though send a swarm of bees chasing after me and I bet I’d come in first place.)

Be sure to stop by the Panama Rainforest Discovery Center during your trip to Pipeline Road. The folks who run it, like all the Panamanians we’ve met over the years, are warm and kind.