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BIRD TALK:Destination Costa Rica

A university’s travel abroad program takes this vet student into the wild

Article & Photos by Maggie Weston

Two streaks of bright red macaws dart across the colorful Costa Rican sky calling loudly to each other as if announcing to the world below that they are flying by. The flamboyant pair fly close to each other, mimicking the other’s every turn, speed, direction and call. The bonded couple land together at the tip of a tall brilliantly green tropical tree. One immediately initiates a grooming session with the other, running his large macaw beak through the gorgeous plumage of his mate, ensuring that she looks her best. The two macaws sit high on their chosen perch, overlooking a patch of land in Costa Rica that has become one of my most favorite places on earth.

During the months of June and July in 2006, I was blessed with the opportunity to volunteer for La Marina Wildlife Rescue Center, located in La Marina of San Carlos, a rural region in the upper middle of Costa Rica and about a two-hour drive north from the Costa Rican capital of San Jose. I am a third-year veterinary medical student at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Washington State University and a devoted avian enthusiast. Through our International Veterinary Student Association and Veterinary Medicine travel abroad program I was able to fund my trip to Costa Rica.

**For the full article, pick up the March 2008 issue of BIRD TALK**

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