Barry Kent MacKayArt by Barry Kent MacKay
Art and Photo Presentation

In this section are copies of original works of art. All of them are dedicated to helping us live according to unconditional love and compassion, which is the foundation of our peaceful means of bringing true and lasting peace to all of God's creatures, whether they are human beings or other animals.

Inca Tern (Larosterna inca)

Inca Tern
(Artwork - 141)
Inca Tern (Larosterna inca)

This small painting shows two adults and, in the back, one immature, Inca Tern, a species native to much of the Pacific coast of South America, from about the Ecuador-Peru border, south. It is somewhat migratory. The Inca Tern is probably the least like other terns of any species of tern, being all over smooth grey, with some white edges to the secondary wing feathers. But the most distinctive features are the odd slender white feathers on the sides of the head. These plumes do not lie flat against the head, but curl outwards, like a pencil-thin moustache. The beak is bright carmine and there is a yellow wattle at the base of the beak, below and a little in front of the eye.

Inca Terns are one of a number of seabird species that once existed in extreme abundance along southern South America’s west coast, mostly breeding on coastal cliffs and offshore islands. They include boobies, gulls, pelicans, cormorants, penguins and other species, and collectively they contributed to what was, in the 19th century, a highly lucrative industry: guano. The birds could exist in such numbers because of an offshore cold-water current that, rich in oxygen, supported vast numbers of small fish, a food base for an incredibly rich assortment of larger fish, marine mammals and seabirds. This nutriment was transferred into excrement that is high in nitrogen, and, suitably diluted, made an extremely high grade of fertilizer.
But a combination of disturbance by workers mining the guano, overfishing (the small fish are often marketed as “anchovies”, for which there is a huge commercial demand) and climate change have all had negative impacts on these birds’ populations. The Inca Tern has undergone rapid decline that still continues. Once many millions occurred but the current best guess is that there may be somewhat more than 150,000 left, a tiny percentage of the once vast numbers that occurred. Fortunately, they are adaptable, will scavenge, like gulls, for food scraps, and will nest in abandoned buildings and wharves.

This piece, in acrylics, is approximately 12” X 16”, on compressed hardboard. Using richly warm colours, I tried to imply, rather than graphically portray, a hot, arid, sun-washed Peruvian beach setting. Originally this was just to be a study, but I got carried away with the pleasure of portraying such fascinating birds and made it into a small painting, approximately life-size.

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Copyright © Barry Kent MacKay
Barry describes himself as a Canadian artist/writer/naturalist.
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