Saturday, June 28, 2014

Photo Essay: The Birds of the Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology

It's a rare occasion that you get very up close and personal with birds. They're not the cuddly, curious sort. If you spot one and they spot you, they generally fly away.

So usually the only way you get to examine their plumage or admire their wingspan is post-mortem, after they've been skinned, stuffed, and tagged.


Male juvenile red-tailed hawk


Small raptor


Toe tag


Male (L) versus female (R) red-tailed hawks


Eurasian (Japanese) Jay Garrulus glandarius japonicus

But at the Western Foundation for Vertebrate Zoology...



These birds are posed in action!


American Barn Owl / Tyto a pratincola

They have personality!


Mandarin duck / Aix galericulata (female)


Greater roadrunner / Geococcyx Californians

They are posing...



...conversational...


Red-billed tropicbird / Phaeton aethereus

...contemplative...


Rose-winged parakeet / Psittacula krameri

...quirky...



...and coy.



Some are even a bit imposing...


Ferruginous hawk / Buteo regalis (female)

...serious...


Brown towhee

...curious...


White-headed Buffalo Weaver  / Dinemellia dinemellia (male)

...vigilant...


Common scaly thrush / Zoothera dauma

...and excited.

It's as though they're frozen in time, exhibiting their most characteristic qualities, unfazed by the rotating cast of scientists, researchers, and visitors who come and go.

That is some good taxidermy.

Stay tuned for more on the WFVZ's massive collection of eggs (not just from birds!) and bird nests. 

Related Post:
Photo Essay: Moore Laboratory of Zoology, Closed to Public