In Huge Bugs and Critters, the Waterman Bird Collection, in the Science building, was introduced. This post will start introducing you to these wonderfully preserved specimens of birds that lived over a hundred years ago.
At first, it bothered me about the use of birds in this manner, even though many museums have displays of birds. Yet, when you look back 100 plus years, they didn’t have the technology, nor the modern color cameras or slow motion videos to capture images of them.
John Audubon did excellent drawings, with detailed colors. He studied live birds and specimens to discover their designs and colors.
“John James Audubon’s Birds of America is a portal into the natural world. Printed between 1827 and 1838, it contains 435 life-size watercolors of North American birds (Havell edition), all reproduced from hand-engraved plates, and is considered to be the archetype of wildlife illustration.” Birds of America
When the Lord first created the birds, there were no specimens until sin entered. How must those first birds have appeared? Photos, movies, and even specimens would have given us quite a sight. Today, we have fossils, but they do not show the beautiful feathers and features that those original avian wonders must have been adorned with.
“So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that moves, with which the waters abounded, according to their kind, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” So the evening and the morning were the fifth day.” (Genesis 1:21-23 NKJV)
The birds in the right hand side of the display above is where we will begin. On the top shelf is an Eider, a Bufflehead and a Goose. It is nice to see them together to get a size perspective. All of these three birds are in the Anatidae Family.
The Common Eider (pronounced /ˈaɪ.dər/) (Somateria mollissima) is a large (50–71 cm (20–28 in) in body length) sea-duck that is distributed over the northern coasts of Europe, North America and eastern Siberia. It breeds in Arctic and some northern temperate regions, but winters somewhat farther south in temperate zones, when it can form large flocks on coastal waters. It can fly at speeds up to 113 km/h (70 mph) Part of the Anatidae Family. Common Eider – Wikipedia and a Cool Fact from All About Birds
- The oldest recorded Common Eider was a male, and at least 22 years, 7 months old, when he was found in eastern Canada.
The Bufflehead (Bucephala albeola) is a small sea duck of the genus Bucephala, the goldeneyes. This species was first described by Linnaeus in his Systema naturae in 1758 as Anas albeola.
The genus name is derived from Ancient Greek boukephalos, “bullheaded”, from bous, “bull ” and kephale, “head“, a reference to the oddly bulbous head shape of the species. The species name albeola is from Latin albus, “white”. The English name is a combination of buffalo and head, again referring to the head shape. This is most noticeable when the male puffs out the feathers on the head, thus greatly increasing the apparent size of the head. Bufflehead – Wikipedia, and a Cool Fact from Bufflehead – All About Birds
- The Bufflehead nests almost exclusively in holes excavated by Northern Flickers and, on occasion, by Pileated Woodpeckers.
The photo shows how much larger the Goose is than the Bufflehead.
The Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) is a large wild goose species with a black head and neck, white cheeks, white under its chin, and a brown body. Native to arctic and temperate regions of North America, its migration occasionally reaches northern Europe. It has been introduced to the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Argentina, Chile, and the Falkland Islands. Like most geese, the Canada goose is primarily herbivorous and normally migratory; it tends to be found on or close to fresh water. Canada Goose Canada Goose – Wikipedia and a Cool Fact from Canada Goose – All About Birds
- The oldest known wild Canada Goose was a female, and at least 33 years, 3 months old when she was shot in Ontario in 2001. She had been banded in Ohio in 1969.
I trust you will enjoy meeting the various birds through this series. The links provided give much more information, and photos of these species.
“The works of the LORD are great, Studied by all who have pleasure in them.” (Psalms 111:2 NKJV)