November 25, 2014
Movember Gone Wild: The Inca Tern
- as seen by -Michelle Faber
Over the past decade, November has become “Movember,” when males of the world don well-groomed mustaches to raise awareness for men’s health. As No Shave November comes to an end (and male beards grow grizzly and unkempt,) Wild View would like to highlight yet another animal doing Movember right.
The first time I visited the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bronx Zoo Sea Bird Aviary where the Inca terns reside was with a coworker. I stood in awe as these strikingly beautiful birds I had never seen before flew around my head, diving low and cackling loudly. “Don’t they seem like 1920s oil tycoons?,” my coworker asked. “I feel like they’re always plotting something.”
He was right; there is a feeling of snarky intelligence and old-fashioned dapperness about the dark gray birds with classy handlebar mustaches and unforgettably menacing laughs. I picture them with top hats and monocles, with plans to take over the world. These unique birds share their exhibit space with Magellanic penguins, an obvious crowd pleaser.
When I first walk in the exhibit, I get the feeling I’m being watched. They see me from their homes in the crevices of a rock wall before I even know they’re there. As I search the water for swimming penguins, I hear the terns’ synchronized warning signals – an orchestra of sound that reverberates in my chest. I look up, and there they are, surrounding me in a whirlwind of fascination and intrigue.
I could spend hours in the aviary, watching these remarkable mustachioed birds navigate the rock walls and pools crafted to embody their native rocky Pacific Coast of South America. Their bright colors and inquisitive demeanor make them just as interesting as their penguin roommates.
And, let’s be honest, who doesn’t love those little white mustaches?