Birding at Tandayapa starts right on the patio. Early in the morning many birds come to feed on the insects that are attracted to the lights on the walls during the night: Streak-capped Treehunter, Tricolored and White-winged Brush-Finches, Gray-breasted Wood-Wren, Slate-throated Whitestart, White-winged Becard, Dusky-capped Flycatcher, and Three-striped Warbler are among the regular visitors. Mixed flocks of tanagers often pass through, stopping to feed on fruiting bushes at the right time of year, and Blue-winged Mountain-Tanagers, White-winged Brush-Finches, and Red-headed Barbets come to eat the fruit put out for them outside the lounge windows, sometimes bringing Crimson-rumped Toucanets with them. On sunny days, after the forest has gone quiet, the patio is a great place to watch for raptors. Black-and-Chestnut Eagle is the most sought-after species, and appears quite often, along with Barred Hawk. Click here for more information about the legendary hummingbird feeders.
Below the Lodge is the lower deck, with views over the treetops in a forested valley. Here you are standing in the Northern Hemisphere while the birds you are watching may be in the Southern. When the trees next to the deck have fruit you can expect superb views of tanagers at eye level, and larger fruit-eaters such as Golden-headed Quetzal, Andean Cock-of-the-Rock, Crimson-rumped Toucanet, and Sickle-winged Guan can sometimes be seen.
The trails provide access to the cloudforest, which begins less than a hundred meters from the main building. As the paths climb up and down the hillside, passing several streams, they provide an opportunity to see some of the special forest birds. Ground-dwelling skulkers to look out for include Rufous-breasted Antthrush, Moustached, Scaled, and Ochre-breasted Antpittas, Dark-backed Wood-Quail, and White-throated Quail-Dove. Mixed flocks of tanagers move through the canopy, with Golden, Metallic-green, and Golden-naped Tanagers being the most common members. Fruiting trees offer your best chance of some big and spectacular species, such as Golden-headed and Crested Quetzals, Andean Cock-of-the-Rock, Scaled Fruiteater, and Sickle-winged Guan. Plate-billed Mountain-Toucan and Toucan Barbet are sometimes encountered on the higher trails. The first described nest of the rare White-faced Nunbird was along the Tandayapa trails, and this unobtrusive species is still seen here by lucky birders.
Understory flocks will have Three-striped and Russet-crowned Warblers, Slaty Antwren, and they often contain Rusty-winged and Spotted Barbtails, Lineated Foliage-gleaner, and Flavescent Flycatcher. Bronze-Olive Pygmy-Tyrant, Olivaceous Piha, and Golden-winged Manakin are less likely to join other birds, but they all have their favorite spots.
Before setting off along the trails, an early morning visit to the forest blind may provide you with superb views of Scaled Antpitta, White-throated Quail-Dove, Immaculate Antbird, Chestnut-capped Brush-Finch, and Russet-crowned Warbler. Other antpittas and Rufous-breasted Antthrush are sometimes seen from the hide. A ten-minute walk down to the village could add White-capped Dipper and Ecuadorian Thrush to your list, and continuing along the old Nono–Mindo road in either direction will give you a chance of more tanager flocks, Andean Cock-of-the-Rock, Beautiful Jay, and open-country birds such as seedeaters, grassquits, Olive-crowned Yellowthroat, and Black-winged Saltator. If you are out on the road at dusk, spectacular male Lyre-tailed Nightjars can sometimes be seen hunting overhead.