Keep at least six feet apart. Avoid crowds. Wash hands often and thoroughly. Most importantly WEAR A MASK!! So simple but with a narcissistic sociopath in the White House who is incapable of recognizing the feelings of others and who politicizes everything, far too many people do not accept the science of prevention or care not about others and within the next few days, more than 150,000 Americans will have died from COVID-19. Thousands of deaths could have been avoided.
To recognize the importance of the MASK, this post recalls my experiences with masks in the avian world and also wishes for some others – just as I wish that we could bond together and simply put on our masks for all of humanity. (I include only the species which begin with “masked”.)
My first “masked” bird was a Masked Booby, one of many seen on Loggerhead Key in the Dry Tortugas on April 29 1978. The next Masked Boobies I saw were at the very same place exactly 39 years later on April 29, 2017. The first two photos are from that second visit – some of the more than 50 individuals seen. This species is regularly seen there. It is far less common in the Pacific Ocean off San Diego where I saw one on August 19, 2018.
Masked Boobies – Loggerhead Key, Florida – April 29, 2017
Masked Booby – San Diego Pelagic – August 19, 2018
In April 1997, I visited Costa Rica with my family and at the Tiskita Jungle Lodge, I added Masked Tityra to my world list. I would see this species again in 2005 in Brazil, 2010 in Belize and 2013 in Peru.
In 2003 I was able to visit Australia and on September 8th found my lifer Masked Lapwing at Toowomba.
In 2013 I traveled to Peru and added three more masked birds to my World List: a Masked Yellowthroat on November 4, 2013 and then a Masked Flowerpiercer and a Masked Trogon on November 13, 2013.
Masked Yellowthroat – Photo by Mariano Ordonez
Masked Flowerpiercer – Photo by Andres Vasquez
Masked Trogon – Photo by Nigel Voaden
So my life list of “masked” birds stands at 6. The Clements Checklist of World Birds includes 24 such species. I guess I have a long way to go. But until I get there, I will simply list them here and thank them for “wearing” their masks.
|Masked Antpitta||Masked Finfoot||Masked Saltator|
|Masked Apalis||Masked Flowerpiercer||Masked Shining-Parrot|
|Masked Booby||Masked Fruiteater||Masked Shrike|
|Masked Bowerbird||Masked Gnatcatcher||Masked Tanager|
|Masked Cardinal||Masked Lapwing||Masked Tityra|
|Masked Crimson Tanager||Masked Lark||Masked Trogon|
|Masked Duck||Masked Laughingthrush||Masked Water-Tyrant|
|Masked Finch||Masked Mountain-Tanager||Masked Woodswallow|
Many of these birds are spectacular and I would love to add them to my world list of observations and maybe even get a photo. Hopefully I will not have to wear a mask when/if I do. But if so, I would certainly do so. Here are three examples.
Masked Crimson Tanager
My masked mania will end with the one “masked” bird that is at least a possibility in the ABA area – a Masked Duck – maybe in Texas some day.
If these guys can do it with their simple “bird brains”, we all can. Do it for yourself, your friends, families and all of humanity. “PLEASE, WEAR A MASK!”