Category Archives: birds

Bonin Islands Grosbeak

Back to birds! Bonin Island Grosbeaks were technically not Grosbeaks, and technically only found on one of the Bonin Islands, (though maybe at one point it had lived on more than one). So let’s start at the beginning: 1. Where … Continue reading

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Choiseul Crested Pigeon

Described as having a beautiful rising and falling whistling call. From Choiseul, one of the Solomon Islands off the coast of New Guinea. Choiseul had no carnivorous mammals (other than man, who sometimes hunted it for food) before the introduction … Continue reading

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Piopio

From New Zealand. They liked the forest floor and rooting around in underbrush. They built nests like little cups in trees only a few feet away from the ground. Piopios had a beautiful call, and also often mimicked the call … Continue reading

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Hats and Feathers

Collectors in the nineteenth century weren’t just interested in raiding nests for eggs, or collecting birds to be kept on mantelpieces. There was also the exploding market for hats with birds on them: Hats adorned with real feathers, wings, and … Continue reading

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App vs. Paper

So, as I’ve mentioned, I am slowly working on a field guide to extinct birds, partly because  paper field guides are one of the kinds of printed books that are probably going to disappear (like dictionaries, encyclopedias, atlases, travel guides, … Continue reading

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Shotgun Ornithology

After Audubon, ornithology began to take shape as a field of study. As an example, one of his protegees, Spencer Fullerton Baird, helped to create and direct the National Museum of Natural History for the Smithsonian. Baird cultivated a far-flung … Continue reading

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Ula-ai-Hawane

A small Hawaiian honeycreeper. It liked the seeds and flowers of a particular sort of palm tree, and when those started to disappeared, so did the bird. Its name means “the red bird that eats the fruit of the hawane … Continue reading

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