Monday, February 15, 2010

Museum of Natural History Trip

I had a pretty good day of birding on Sunday, with the highlights being Lyre-tailed Nightjar, Harpy Eagle, Eskimo Curlew, Great Auk, Giant Hummingbird, Blue Bird-of-Paradise, Bishop's O'o, Nocturnal Curassow, Labrador Duck, Imperial Woodpecker, Spoon-billed Sandpiper, and, of course, Ivory-billed Woodpecker.

Unfortunately, all of them were dead.

The New York State Young Birder's Club (NYSYBC) had an amazing trip to the American Museum of Natural History's bird collection, a behind-the-scenes tour of the world's largest collection of bird specimens- over 1 million, and representing nearly all of the world's bird species.

Two of the museum's scientists gave an excellent presentation on specimen preparation and importance, as well as the history of the museum's bird collection.

A life-mount of an albino cormerant:

The critically endangered Spoon-billed Sandpiper:

Harpy Eagle:
And Great Gray Owl:

A full life-mount of a Great Argus Pheseant in display was cool:
Three more amazing birds we saw specimens of were Lyre-tailed Nightjar, Toucan Barbet, and Flame Bowerbird.

This parrot is no more. It has ceased to be. It's expired and gone to meet it's maker. This is an ex-parrot!:

After that, we went upstairs in the cramped elevator to the rare and extinct birds section, where we saw Heath Hen, Eskimo Curlew, Pink-headed Duck, Great Auk, Labrador Duck, Bishop's O'o, Imperial Woodpecker, and Ivory-billed Woodpeckers, all of which are extinct or probably extinct. 

The auk:

The O'o:

The Labrador Duck:

And last but not least, the Woodpeckers:

And Imperial:

We were also able to see the type specimen of some species of South Pacific kingfisher:

In all it was a very interesting trip, and it was cool to see birds that you probably could never see in life. 

Good Birding!

Costa Rica Countdown: 2.5 Days

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