||Cabañas San Isidro and its immediate surroundings boast a bird list of about 330 species, many of which are more easily found here than anywhere else in the country. We are situated at about 2050 meters above sea level, but the trails lead through habitats from 2,400 meters all the way down to 1,900 meters. What this means to birders is an ideal base to observe Andean birds from the lower reaches of the temperate zone down into the heart of the subtropical zone. Birding groups visit Cabañas San Isidro.
Birds such as Highland Tinamou, Bicolored Antvireo, and Peruvian Antpitta, are a few of the exciting rarities that live within shouting distance of the lodge. The White-faced Nunbird might even put in an appearance as it has been seen at San Isidro more in recent years than at any other single site on the east slope in Ecuador.
What really makes Cabañas San Isidro such a joy to bird though are the hundreds of other bird species that one has a good chance of seeing while quietly strolling down the forest trails and forested roadsides. Right from the doorstep folks often get their first looks at Powerful Woodpecker, Smoky Bush-Tyrant, Inca Jay, Black-billed Peppershrike. And, during the right season, sightings of singing Wattled Guan (a large turkey-like bird) can virtually be guaranteed as they sit unobstructed in the crowns of large emergent trees, belting out their bizarre territorial call while Glossy-black Thrushes perch nearby singing 'back-up'!.
A short walk from the cabins, the forest awaits. Here mixed understory and canopy flocks seemingly drip from the foliage, furgivores - large and small - raid trees and bushes for the 'fruit-of-the-month' and skulkers steal about in the shade of low vegetation betraying their presence by an occasionalwhistled song. Be especially on the lookout for Sickle-winged Guan, Masked Trogon, Highland (Andean) Motmot, Streak-capped and Striped Treehunters, Long-tailed Antbird (a bamboo specialist) and Slate-crowned Antpittas, Marble-faced and (only a few of a long list of varied tyrannids to be found in the mixed species flocks), Black-chested Fruiteater, Pale-footed Swallow, a wonderful selection of colorful tanager species including Red-hooded and White-capped and Northern Mountain and Subtropical Caciques.
All of these species, among many others, are residents here and are frequently seen by our guests. Of all of the known sites where Andean Cock-of-the-Rock is found in Ecuador, the small congregation of brilliant orange, screaming individuals at San Isidro's mating lek (most active between Oct.-Mar.) is by far the most easily accessible, being only a twenty-minute walk from our cabins.