Belize Travelcast >> Episode 3

How a Lesson’s Motmot inspired a young Belizean from Toledo to love Birds

Maricia Mas 20 minutes


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In part two of our interview with the team from the Belize Raptor Center, we welcome lead bird trainer Maricia Mas, a native Belizean hailing from the Toledo district of Belize. Maricia talks about how her love for nature and the environment was nurtured from a young age by her parents growing up in southern Belize. She tells us that the Lesson’s motmot was the bird that made her fall in love with birding. Maricia is now the first certified female bird trainer in Belize and continues to inspire younger generations of birders through her educational outreach activities. Maricia was recently recognized as Belize’s Wonder Woman by the US Embassy of Belize, a well deserved recognition for her hard work and dedication of preserving Belize’s birds and environment.

Maricia was hooked from the first time she was able to get her hands on a proper pair of binoculars. It was through an outreach program by the Belize Audubon Society. She recounts her fond memory of first using the "binos" to get to see the beautiful birds upclose and her desire to want to learn more. 

Maricia talks about her work at the Belize Raptor Center and her special relationship with the birds. Some say she "talks" to the birds. She has a special connection that's hard to explain but she explains that their body language are signals from the bird to let her know how they feel. She says that it all comes down to time and patience. She has such a passion for birds and rehabilitation of birds that she never takes a day off because in her eyes she never works.

Meet Maricia and the team at the Belize Raptor Center in Santa Elena Belize. It's always FREE to visit, and is an excellent experience for both visitors and locals alike.
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Recommended Activities
$
90
/ Person
Departs From:
Belize City
Tour Leaves from Belize City After pickup at your hotel, cruise ship, or airport, we travel north to the village of Sandhill where we begin birding along the Salt Creek Road. Here ... morewe will be transitioning through different habitats from the Pine Savannah to the dry Broadleaf Forest. Because of the mixture of different habitats, we may come along a myriad of different bird species. In the Pine Savannah, you can expect species such as Gray-crowned Yellowthroats, Acorn Woodpeckers, Lesser-Yellow Headed Vultures, and Black-throated Bobwhite. As we continue along and the habitat changes, Barred-Antshrikes, Squirrel Cuckoos, White-bellied Emeralds, and Spot-breasted Wrens are more birds to be expected, a small pond on the road may yield Little Blue Herons, Northern Jacanas and maybe even the uncommon Snail Kite. After that we will head to the Caribbean Shrimp Farm, here we will almost certainly come across the very elusive Clapper Rail, also at the farm we can expect to see Royal Tern, Common Black Hawk, Olive Sparrow, and Yucatan Vireo. After finishing up the farm we will head back to your drop-off location.
$
39
-
$
65
/ Person
Departs From:
Punta Gorda
Provider:
This early morning, half day tour takes you from ridge to reef within a short distance and time, soaking up the best that Toledo has to offer, and is perfect for the active adventurer ... moreand avid birder!

Starting at 6 am, this tour will take you hiking up Cerro Hill, just five minutes from Punta Gorda Town. As you journey up the trail, your guide will point out local flora and fauna that you pass, and of course, the many diverse birds found in this area. Upon reaching the summit, enjoy the breathtaking panoramic views of Punta Gorda Town below and the Caribbean Sea stretching into the distance.

After your hike, stop for breakfast in a local café in PG, before enjoying a leisurely kayak on Joe Taylor Creek, a slow flowing creek surrounded by mangroves and wildlife. Your guide will share their knowledge of the ecosystem and local conservation efforts, as you paddle upstream into dense mangroves, or downstream into the ocean.
$
95
/ Person
Departs From:
San Ignacio Town
Provider:
INLAND BLUE HOLE BIRDWATCHING Belize is a birdwatcher’s paradise! As many as 587 birds have been recorded in Belize and, of these, approximately 20 percent are migrants from North ... moreAmerica. Every year new species are being documented. Eight new records were accepted in 2007, including the Crested Caracara, Canada Goose, and Spot-breasted Oriole. For those interested in exploring the diversity and beauty of the avifauna of the diverse habitats MayaWalk expert birdwatching guides will point out tiny iridescent hummingbirds, impressive raptors, and various migratory and endemic songbirds. One of the best places to go on a Belize birding tour is St. Herman’s Blue Hole National Park, a beautiful protected area along the scenic Hummingbird Highway.

This small park covers 575 acres and has two natural features open for touring, St. Herman’s Cave: a beautiful crystalline cave in the limestone hills and the Blue Hole: a clear sinkhole filled with turquoise waters, perfect for a swim. A series of lovely hiking trails over various landscapes take visitors into the jungle where the foliage, tropical flowers, and rainforest canopy are the feeding and nesting grounds for hundreds of species of birds. For those interested in finding out more about the amazingly diverse avifauna of Belize we recommend purchasing Birds of Belize (University of Texas Press) by H. Lee Jones, illustrated by Dana Gardner-- a must-have for serious birders. Published in 2003, this is the first complete guide to the identification of all to the birds of Belize and it is beautifully illustrated and complete with habitat information. Our birding guides will be equipped with binoculars and a spotting scope to make the most of your birding experience. Enjoy the serene trails of the park and end the day with a lovely swim in the Blue Hole.

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Guest Picture

Maricia Mas

Marcia is the first certified female bird trainer in Belize. She has done an exceptional job educating more than 10,000 children through the Belize Raptor Center about Belize’s ecosystem. Marcia exceeds expectations in all that she does and strives to learn as much as she can to expand her work throughout the country. She successfully completed courses in Introduction to Raptor Rehabilitation and Emergency Care, Raptor Medical Care and Management, and Pre-release Conditioning and Release.

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