Extinct Species Visitation

A couple of weeks ago we took a family trip to Washington DC. This was something we had attempted the last few years but had to cancel one time for a hurricane. This trip wasn’t much better weather wise with temperatures the first day in the 20’s and 40-50mph winds. This made for low wind chills and few people walking on the National Mall. And I really didn’t expect to come up with a story about birds on a family trip to Washington DC. But I did. The problem is it’s on an extinct species visitation.*

On the National History Building’s first floor is an exhibit of birds seen in the Washington DC area. The birds are stuffed and mounted with a brief description of each species.

Like my nemesis the Golden Eagle.

But what caught my eye were the species no longer seen in the area. Or anywhere for that fact.

Because they’re Extinct Species

Just imagine if there were still Carolina Parakeets flying around our area?

Unless I visit another natural history museum this will probably be my only chance to ever see these species. Stuffed and behind glass. Not out in the wild.

Or the huge flocks of the Passenger Pigeon?

Or on a visit to New England encountering the Heath Hen?

And where are we headed with other species? Will they be in this or a similar museum in 150 years? I’m afraid there will be many more than the six that have gone extent since the European settlers arrived.

Another part of the museum had other extinct species, not only ones from the Washington area. Like this Ivory-billed Woodpecker.

Extinct Species Visitation

And another Carolina Parakeet. It’s larger than I expected.

A side note. Of the hundreds of people at the museum, only a few were looking at the birds. Most visitors were at the dinosaurs and elephants and other “exciting” exhibits. These held people’s attention, not inactive, stuffed birds

But my wife pointed out even though my daughter, niece, and nephew don’t spend time in nature, all the parks and museums they visited when young have given them an awareness of nature. And that they should be concerned. Hopefully it will affect all the urban school children running around the museum each day.

* – where I come from in Illinois a visitation is the viewing before a funeral. Hence, extinct species visitation.

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