No. 11. — Birds of the Cayo District, British Honduras By Oliver L. Austin, Jr. A SUBSTANTIAL Contribution toward the expenses of the Mason- Blodgett Expedition from the WiUiam and Adelaide Barbour Fund made it possible for me to accompany Mr. Gregory Mason to Central America during the spring of 1928. The main purposes of the expedi- tion were archaeology and ethnology, but it was considered that, in as much as the route lay through a region so interesting and so little worked ornithologically, the opportunity for research in this field should not be neglected. On March 15, 1928, Mason and I left Belize, British Honduras, for El Cayo, which we reached March 18, traveling up the Belize River by motor launch. I spent the next three days collecting there, while Mason observed and studied a Maya religious fiesta at the neighboring villages of Succotz and Benque Viejo. The fiesta finished. Mason in- tended to spend most of his time moving about from village to village by pack train, studying the native Indian tribes. It is nearly impossible to study birds, when one must needs spend one's whole day in the saddle on a short-gaited mule, so it behooved me to find some more permanent base from which to work. The Mengel Mahogany Company was more than hospitable, and made me very comfortable for two weeks at their headquarters at Camp 6, about twelve miles south of El Cayo. For their many kindnesses to me, I shall always feel indebted to the manager and his wife, Mr. and Mrs. S. Williams. Mr. John Eric Sydney Thompson, of the Captain Marshall Field First Archaeological Expedition to British Honduras, was at that time excavating a site he had discovered near Mountain Cow Water Hole, an abandoned mahogany camp some eight miles farther south from Camp 6. Eight miles and back again in that country is a full day's journey, and as Thompson's sole human company until then had con- sisted of seven stoical Indian workmen, he asked me to join him. This I gladly did, and spent the next two weeks collecting deep in the rain forest, while Thompson excavated his tombs and temples. Gregory Mason visited us April 20, with the news that he had dis- covered some interesting limestone caves in the Great Southern Pine Ridge which he intended exploring more thoroughly. I packed up again and journeyed with him to a place near Augustine, where we camped



Birds of the Cayo district, British Honduras

Oliver L Austin
Bulletin of The Museum of Comparative Zoology 69: 363-393 (1929)

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