This post was written by Grace Costantino, Outreach and Communication Manager for the Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL). It first appeared on the BHL blog here. Deep within the rainforest canopy of the Aru Islands, just west of New Guinea, two male Greater Birds-of-Paradise dance among the branches in carefully coordinated steps, their magnificent yellow, white, and maroon plumage undulating gracefully to the rhythm of their own unique song.
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.
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 »
The Book Conservation Lab received a rush request to repair a two volume set of “Illustrations of the Nests and Eggs of Birds of Ohio.” The set is to be displayed at a May 9th event with author Joy Kiser discussing her book “America’s Other Audubon,” chronicling the publication of this work.
The second Sunday in March is Buzzard Day. The Libraries’ Galaxy of Images makes it easy to celebrate, wth two wonderful plates by Mark Catesby and François-Nicolas Martinet featuring buzzards.
September is National Chicken Month. It seems appropriate to feature this poultry catalog from 1874, which features an incubator that resembles an upright piano, as well as the impressive advertising tagline, “People Live and Learn.”
The Libraries has a plethora of wonderful bird images featured on its Galaxy of Images. Here we are highlighting one of the more recent additions.—Elizabeth Periale H. G. Ludwig Reichenbach, Die Vollstandigste Naturgeschichte des In- und Auslandes. Vogel., 1853, Hawaii Mamo, or, the "Drepanis pacifica"