Friday, 18 April 2014

Rare Photos of Rare Birds

Many factors can contribute to the extinction of an entire species. These can be genetic – for instance, the ‘pollution’ of purebred species; biological, owing to causes such as predation and disease; or the result of outside forces, like climate change. Sadly, humans have played a major part in the extinction of many different species. The greed of over-hunting and carelessness of habitat destruction have both been blameworthy in such cases. But, sometimes it comes down to simple ignorance of the important role that a species fulfills. Or to the introduction of invasive species. Let’s hope the examples of these already extinct birds educate us on how not to treat other existing species.

Laughing Owl, photographed sometime between 1889 and 1910

Image: Henry Charles Clarke Wright

A group of Passenger Pigeons in the aviary of C.O. Whitman, a professor of zoology at the University of Chicago

Image: J. G. Hubbard
Image: J. G. Hubbard

A Paradise Parrot in Burnett River, Queensland, photographed in 1922

Image: Cyril Henry H. Jerrard

Image: Alfred M. Bailey

A 1962 photo of an Eskimo Curlew in the wild – one of only four known photographs of a living member of the species

Image: David G. Allen / The Wildlife Society

One of the rare (if not only) photographs of a Wake Island Rail, snapped in 1936

Image: Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections
Image: Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections

A bit hard to spot but there it is – a South Island Bushwren in the wild, photographed in 1911

Image: Arthur A. Allen
                                                                                                   Image: Arthur A. Allen

Male ivory-billed woodpecker returning to its nest to relieve the female, photographed in 1935

Image: Jerry A. Payne / Arthur A. Allen
                                                                                           Image: Jerry A. Payne / Arthur A. Allen

A female Passenger Pigeon, photographed in captivity in 1898

Image: J. G. Hubbard
                                                                                                   Image: J. G. Hubbard

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