Twitterchat on September 2nd!

Please join the Smithsonian Libraries, the National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) and the Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) for a twitterchat on September 2nd. The chat will take place between 2-3 pm (EST) and feature Helen James, Curator of Birds and our recent Once There Were Billions exhibit in NMNH, and Martin Kalfatovic, Program Director of the Biodiversity Heritage Library.

The Making of “Once There Were Billions”

This post was written by Grace Costantino, Outreach and Communication Manager for the Biodiversity Heritage Library. It first appeared on the BHL blog here. You are living in the midst of earth’s sixth great extinction event. You’ve been living in it since you were born. So have your parents, your grandparents, your great-great-great-great-grandparents, and all of your ancestors for about 10,000 years. It dates back to the extinction of the mammoths and more »

The Fall of a Mighty Empire: The Passenger Pigeon

The story of the last Passenger Pigeon and the disappearance of the Great Auk, Carolina Parakeet, and Heath Hen reveal the fragile connections between species and their environment. To help tell their story, the Smithsonian Libraries, Biodiversity Heritage Library, and the National Museum of Natural History have curated a joint exhibit entitled Once There Were Billions: Vanished Birds of North America which opened June 24 in the National Museum of Natural History.  Two hundred years ago, the passenger pigeon (Ectopistes more »

Biodiversity Heritage Library Adds Two Members

The Biodiversity Heritage Library, headquartered at the Smithsonian Libraries, welcomes the University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign, Ill.) and Washington University (St. Louis, Mo.) as new partners. These two institutions will contribute to the digitization of historical science literature in the BHL collections. All material will be online, free, and available to the public.

Carolina parakeet: A Splendor of Beauty Gone Forever

At this time of year, those of us in the U.S. often find our eyes turned skyward to admire a brilliant array of colors lighting up the night sky in celebration of America’s independence.  Up until about a hundred years ago, a colorful display of another kind filled the North American skies, and not just on the fourth of July. Jewel-colored Carolina parakeets (Conuropsis carolinensis) traveled in huge, noisy flocks from southern more »

Great Auk: Flightless, Social…and Doomed

The story of the last Passenger Pigeon and the disappearance of the Great Auk, Carolina Parakeet, and Heath Hen reveal the fragile connections between species and their environment. To help tell their story, the Smithsonian Libraries, Biodiversity Heritage Library, and the National Museum of Natural History have curated a joint exhibit entitled Once There Were Billions: Vanished Birds of North America which opened June 24 in the National Museum of Natural History. Over the next more »

“Once There Were Billions: Vanished Birds of North America” Opens June 24! Join us!

Once an amazing diversity of birds-some in breathtaking abundance-inhabited the vast forests and plains of North America. But starting around 1600, some species began to disappear, as humans altered habitats, over-hunted, and introduced predators. A notable extinction occurred 100 years ago, with the death of Martha the Passenger Pigeon, the last member of a species that once filled America’s skies. The story of the last passenger pigeon, and the disappearance of the more »

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