Tag Archive for birds

The Dodo

The Dodo is an extinction celebrity. Children recognize it as a character in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, one written as a stand-in for the author. Dodos have found their way into children’s stories and poems, into popular magazines and newspaper articles. Images of dodos serve as a logo for many businesses. Collectors assemble menageries of toys, ceramic ornaments, pictures, cartoons, books, memorabilia…

Labrador Duck

The Labrador Duck is the first North American bird that we are aware of to become extinct. It was rare by the time that Europeans arrived in North America, so information on the bird is a bit sketchy, but it seems to have wintered on the shores of New England, Long Island, and New Jersey, and probably nested and bred…

Seychelles Parakeet

From the Seychelles Islands in the Indian Ocean. The last known individuals were shot in 1893. The forests of the Seychelles were cleared in the 19th century for coconut plantations, and the birds were shot by the plantation owners to protect their crops. Common in 1811, rare by 1867, gone by 1906.   The Seychelles Parakeet is at the top…

Norfolk Island Kaka

Norfolk Island is a tiny island in the Pacific between Australia, New Zealand, and New Caledonia. The Norfolk Kaka is a large kind of parrot with a big beak who once lived there. Its closest relative is the Kaka of New Zealand. Captain James Cook, on his second voyage through the Pacific in 1774, brought along the naturalist Johann Reinhold…

Spectacled Cormorant

Cormorants are medium to large generally attractive seabirds. The Spectacled variety was native to the Commander islands in the far northeast of Russia, in the Bering Sea. It was the largest species of cormorant known to have existed. The one person who described it called it  “large, stupid, clumsy and almost flightless”.  The area in which it lived was named in the eighteenth…

Color Key to North American Birds

Another step towards the modern field guide happened in 1903, when ornithologist and curator at the American Museum of Natural History Frank Chapman worked with illustrator Chester Reed to produce a book whose sole aim was “the identification of the bird in the bush”. Their Color Key to North American Birds (available here through Project Gutenberg) was the first to rely on…

Four Colored Flowerpecker

Otherwise known as the Cebu Flowerpecker. Endemic to Cebu Island in the Philippines. After massive deforestation it was thought to be extinct, but in a late breaking development, this tiny 12 centimeter bird was rediscovered in a small patch of forest in the Central Cebu Protected Landscape, and then subsequently also in a few other scattered bits of forest. The current…