Saturday, February 6, 2010

Abiko Bird Museum

I’m not sure why anyone would want to sit in a room full of stuffed birds, although the purple leather couch is sort I would make a bee-line for in other surroundings. I’m not quiet sure what I was expecting from “Bird Museum” and I guess should have guessed there would be lots of dead birds- which usually doesn’t bother me too much- I mean I’m not the sort to cry over dead birds per se, perhaps it was that this space felt more lifeless than the other conservation/ education reserves I have visited here. Although I did learn an important piece of information (perhaps this is because it was one of the only signs translated)- the Japanese Crested Ibis, which is on the cover of the field guide I am using (and makes an appearance in my first zine here- pictures coming), is like the Kakapo in New Zealand, the last 5 where rounded up and are in a captive breeding program on the Island of Sado (there are now 10).
I was thinking about how field guides often have a really rare bird on the cover- New Zealand’s has a Kakapo and Kiwi among other birds, I wonder whether this is because it attracts the twitcher hunter or that rarities have a fame beyond the bird world so are identifiable for non-birders? (while uploading the field image to flickr I realised that the field guide to the birds of Asia also has two very rare birds- the Mandarin Duck and the Baikal Teal)
It was a really really cold day, down round zero with a nasty ice wind coming down from the north, so I didn’t see much moving in the marsh. I did see some white swans- I’m still finding it hard to de-program my Australian birder bias of filtering our ferals and ‘junk’ birds. The marsh around a large lake and it's a fairly urban area so I just assumed that the swans where introduced European Mute Swans and therefore could be ignored. After flicking through the guide at the museum I realised that there are 3 local types of white swans (as well as the Euro feral). On the walk back to the station I saw them again- Whistling Swans.

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