Trees are poems that Earth writes upon the sky. We fell them down and turn them into paper, that we may record our emptiness. ---Kahlil Gibran

Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Crimson-breasted Flowerpecker

Bird Collection

Doesn’t this picture make you sad?  This is from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. I assume these birds were preserved and labeled for scientific reasons, yet I can’t help feeling depressed to think of all these dead birds!

God loved the birds and invented trees. Man loved the birds and invented cages. -JACQUES DEVAL

I never really thought about it before, but most museums must have storage rooms filled with all sorts of collections…not just birds.  I’d like to believe they communicate with each other and share what they have discovered, but I’m betting that every museum, every aviary, every science lab is doing its own research and killing birds for its own collection. Here is a link listing of some them. 

 CLICK Museums that have bird collections

How many birds, fish, and bugs do they kill when it is all added up?  Well, okay I don’t really care how many bugs they kill.  I'm not overly fond of bugs. 

Birds differ from man because they can build and yet leave a landscape as it was. They don’t mess things up.  I like birds. Birds probably care how many bugs are killed. Or they would if they knew.

The moment a person is concerned with which is  a jay and which is a sparrow,
 he can no longer see birds or hear them sing. – ERIC BERNE

Automated Bird Song
In many cultures, birds are thought to be a supernatural link between Heaven and Earth. In India birds represent departed souls; whereas in Christian art, birds are often portrayed as saved souls.  In Greece, the mythical Phoenix represents the resurrection of mortals born again from ashes and in Asia birds are symbols of immortality.

Specific powers are attributed to certain birds too. For instance, in Imperial Rome and in present day United States, the Eagle is a symbol of strength. In China, cranes represent long life. 

In many religions, Angels are depicted as winged humanoids.  They guard mankind and act as mediators between Heaven and the Earthborn (us).  The Egyptian god, Thoth, with the head of an Ibis, was credited with giving mankind the invention of writing.  Prometheus, who gave mankind fire, was punished by Zeus by being bound to a rock, where each day an eagle was sent to eat his liver, only to have it grow back the next day and be eaten again.

Egyptian God Thoth
Birds are scattered throughout our religion, our mythology and our literature. Some examples:
1.   In the ballet, SWAN LAKE a young princess, Odette and her maids are put under a spell where they are transformed into swans.
2.   In the Harry Potter series written by J.K. Rowling, a race of magic creatures called VEELA appear as beautiful women, but turn into scary bird-like creatures when angry.
3.   In Douglas Adam’s The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy the bird people of Brontitall evolved from humans who were sick of buying shoes and vowed never to set foot on the ground again. (Personally, I find it hard to believe that anyone would tire of buying shoes, but this book WAS written by a man.)
4.   In the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy game, the AARAKOCRA are a race of bird people who dwell in the mountains. 

The bluebird carries the sky on his back. – HENRY DAVID THOREAU

Legend of THE OWLMAN of Mawnan, Cornwall
We give birds human characteristics in our children’s stories such as the Guardians of Ga’Hoole series by Kathryn Lasky and give humans bird-like features in adult books such as the Maximum Ride series by James Patterson. In the movie SPLICE , human and bird DNA are combined to create a new species as seen below.
Dren, the Human-Bird
Birds are important to us in many ways, and I hope that their fate is not as written in the poem below.  I don't want the trays of dead museum birds to be all we have left for our future generations.
What They Made from Its Bones     by William Wenthe 
Buttons, of course.
Dagger handles.
Letter openers.
Hairpins, combs.
Powders to cover moles.
Clasps, stays, grommets, bobbins, brooches, splints. 
Rattles, plectrums, rosary beads, and at least one
reliquary for a splinter of the cross.
Cribbage pegs, concertina keys, teething rings, teeth,
Sealing wax.
Fertilizer for cabbages.
Kings, queens, bishops, knights, rooks, pawns.
Whipstocks, aphrodisiacs, laxatives.
Pipe stems, crossbow ticklers . . .
An extinction so thorough, we find no remains of the bird itself;
only relics of a vanished settlement,
preserved for us in glass museum cases.

Take a look at some of these recycled crafts having to do with birds and follow the LINKS below and in the sidebar on the left.

Tea Cup Feeder
Book Page Art

Tin Can Bird Feeder
 CLICK HERE to see another Recycled Bird Feeder

Mechanical Bird

 CLICK HERE to see a Recycled Bird Ornament
Kites are like birds

Check out these books at our library:

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