Categories
Music

Duke Ellington: Seven Tones

The Seven Tones Project pairs new interpretations of the music of Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn with short movies. The project turns the coronavirus quarantine into an opportunity for creative collaboration.

Categories
History Passenger Pigeon

New Jersey’s State Bird

In association with the Fine Feathered Friends exhibit, here’s history behind how the Eastern Goldfinch became New Jersey’s official state bird.

Anthony Kuser, who is introduced late in the video, was also a sponsor of the search for a surviving passenger pigeon. In 1909, he offered a $300 reward for proof of an undisturbed passenger pigeon nest. The ensuing search was unsuccessful (many sightings of presumed passenger pigeons turned out to be mourning doves) but the reward, and the publicity surrounding it, helped establish with certainty the extinction of passenger pigeons in the wild.

Categories
Science Zooarchaeology

Red-Bellied Woodpecker Skull

A fine woodpecker skull with an exceptionally well-preserved hyolingual apparatus presented by Duke Farms, the first in a weekly series.

Red-bellied woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus). Source: TCM
Categories
Museums Passenger Pigeon

Smithsonian Open Access Program: Martha

Passenger Pigeon mount
Martha the Passenger Pigeon. Source: Smithsonian Institution, CC 0.

To celebrate the Smithsonian Institution’s formal announcement of its Open Access program, which makes almost 3 million digital images and 3-D models freely available, here’s one of Martha (a.k.a. USNM 223979), the last passenger pigeon. Viewed from this angle, she has a bit of an attitude.

Categories
Museums

More Birds in Porcelain

Some more pairings of Boehm porcelain sculptures with mounted birds at the New Jersey State Museum

Red-Wing Blackbirds
Red-Wing Blackbirds. Source: TCM
Indigo Bunting
Indigo Bunting. Source: TCM
Categories
Museums Passenger Pigeon

Extinct Birds in Ceramic

The New Jersey State Museum‘s Fine Feathered Friends exhibit combines mounted birds from the natural history collection with ceramic birds from the fine arts collection. Two extinct birds, the Carolina Parakeet (Conuropsis carolinensis) and the Passenger Pigeon (Ectopistes migratorius), are immortalized by the Stangl Pottery Company/Fulper Pottery Company of New Jersey.

Taxidermied and ceramic birds
Taxidermied Carolina parakeet, ceramic passenger pigeon, and ceramic Carolina parakeet gaze at a life display of two passenger pigeons on a nest. Source: TCM
taxidermied and ceramic Carolina parakeets
Taxidermied and ceramic Carolina parakeets. Source: TCM
Passenger pigeon and Carolina parakeet created by the Stangl/Fulper Ceramic company of New Jersey. Source: TCM
Carolina parakeet
Carolina parakeet. Source: TCM
Categories
Passenger Pigeon

Two Passenger Pigeon Specimens in England

I recently stumbled upon two more passenger pigeon mounts I was unaware of. The Horninam Museum and Gardens in London, England, has two mounted passenger pigeons, a male and a female. Photos of the birds (NH.Z. 1768 and 1769) can be seen at the museum website.

The two pigeons are part of a natural history collection amassed by Samuel Prout Newcombe in the nineteenth century. Newcombe had owned a number of photography studios in London in the mid 1800s. He also was a writer, and in 1851 wrote a guide to the The Great Exhibition (also known as the Crystal Palace Exhibition) that focused on foods of the world, including an entry on the passenger pigeon. Around 1870, Newcombe sold his photography studios and retired to life a leisure.

Keenly interested in natural history, Samuel Prout Newcombe had amassed a large collection of specimens and books on natural history. … “Nature“, the International Journal of Science, reported in 1899 that: “Mr. S. Prout Newcombe has offered the London County Council his educational collection of natural history specimens and literature. This collection, which consists of about 21,000 objects, included a considerable number of works on natural history subjects“. 

https://www.photohistory-sussex.co.uk/Hastings_Newcombe.htm

The Horniman received the Newcombe collection in 1905.

Fireside facts from the Great Exhibition : Being an amusing series of object lessons on the food and clothing of all nations in the year 1851. Samuel Prout Newcombe 1851:90.
Categories
Diversions

Bald Eagles Flirting with Disaster and a Megabus

You think having more bald eagles is a good thing, until two of them take their courtship ritual onto the New Jersey Turnpike.

Video by jboi4 on reddit, from South Jersey (Salem County?).

Edit: The original video was deleted from reddit; here it is on YouTube:

Categories
Zooarchaeology

Turkey Archaeology: A Call for Papers

Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports Special Issue Call for Papers: Turkey Husbandry and Domestication: Recent Advances
The turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) is the only domesticated vertebrate to originate from North America. Its history of use and domestication is therefore of great importance to understanding the process, timing, practice and spread of New World animal husbandry. This special issue therefore brings together recent research papers that advance our understanding of turkey use and domestication through inter-disciplinary work involving skeletal morphology, paleopathology, osteometry, stable isotopes, and DNA analysis. We seek papers that span the entire history of turkey use and domestication from their earliest appearance in the archaeological record to their colonial period diffusion outside the Americas. Geographic coverage is sought from all areas of the species historic range including Mesoamerica, the American Southwest, and Eastern North America to generate more dialogue among researchers independently studying the topic in these cultural regions. Evidence documenting turkey transport outside the Americas is also relevant to this topic. Papers that demonstrate advances in inter-disciplinary and scientific approaches to studying turkey use and domestication are particularly welcomed.

Schedule:

First draft of manuscripts due: August 1, 2015
Notification of Acceptance/Revisions: Sept. 2015 (anticipated)
Final paper production deadline: Nov/Dec. 2016 (anticipated)
Expected Publication date: Spring 2016

Submission Guidelines:

Submissions to the Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports are made on-line using through the Elsevier Publishing system. Through the on-line system, you will be able to submit your manuscript directly to the special issue. Registration, on-line submission login, and author guidelines are available at http://www.journals.elsevier.com/journal-of-archaeological-science-reports/.

Optional open access publishing (on a per article basis) will be available for this special issue.

All submitted papers will be subject to regular peer-review procedures. Papers should not typically exceed 5000 words (excluding tables and references) and should not have been published previously nor be currently under consideration for publication elsewhere in any other format (print or electronic).

Please contact the lead guest editor, Erin Thornton (erin.thornton@wsu.edu), for additional information.

 

Categories
Passenger Pigeon

The Oldest Passenger Pigeon Fossil

How old is the earliest passenger pigeon fossil?  A single wing bone found at the Lee Creek Mine paleontological locality in North Carolina is 3.7 to 4.8 million years old, a time period known as the Early Pliocene. It is reasonable to ask whether a fossil that old is from the same species as the historically known passenger pigeon, and the paleontologists who identified it were cautious, officially labeling the humerus bone Ectopistes aff. migratorius, but also stating that “Apart from the slightly larger size, which probably would have been encompassed by variation in the recent species, the fossil shows no distinguishing differences from E. migratorius.” (Olson and Rasmussen 2001:300).

The thousands of other fossil bird bones found here were originally deposited in deep marine water and in fact most of the identified birds are ocean-going species like auks, shearwaters, and albatrosses. Land based birds (including the passenger pigeon) comprise a very small proportion of the assemblage (Olson and Rasmussen 2001).

Lee Creek Mine Humerus
The Pliocene passenger pigeon humerus (l, o) compared to a modern pigeon (Rock Dove, Columba livia, m, p) and historic passenger pigeon (n, q). Source: Plate 33, page 364-365, Olson and Rasmussen 2001.

Reference:

Olson, Storrs L., and Pamela C. Rasmussen

2001       Miocene and Pliocene birds from the Lee Creek Mine, North Carolina.  Smithsonian Contributions to Paleobiology 90:233-365.