The Field Museum is home to 30 million specimens that get sent around the world—most of the time, they’re used for scientific research, but this time, they wound up in an art museum right here in Chicago. The Art Institute of Chicago has a new exhibition featuring Van Gogh’s paintings of bedrooms that explores his artistic influences and the concept of home. His fascination with homes included a collection of birds’ nests that became the subject matter of several of his paintings. Read more about Nesting: How Scientific Collections Helped Reveal an Artist’s Inspiration
Blogs & Videos: Birds
Cue up the Marvin Gaye—we’ve got everything from moonwalking birds to snails shooting “love darts,” all in the name of keeping their species going. It’s Valentine’s Day, Field Museum style. Read more about The Birds and the Bees: The Seven Craziest Animal Mating Stories
February 12 is Darwin’s birthday. To celebrate, check out some of the coolest things we have in our collections with a link to the Granddaddy of Biology himself. 1. Darwin's finches finches.jpg Read more about 5 Behind-the-Scenes Specimens with Links to Darwin
Ivory Gull (Pagophila eburnea) photo by Nathan Goldberg. Read more about Of Ivory Gulls and Parasites
Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis). Photo © Jeff Skrentny. Sibling birds-of-prey often play-fight with their talons. It's practice for hunting, fighting, and passing prey to a mate. But the Red-tailed Hawks in the photos below are adults. They probably got their talons locked together in a territorial battle. Apparently they were unable to unlock them, causing both birds to perish. Maybe they should have played more as youngsters. "To the victor go the spoils," the saying goes. Unless there is no victor. Read more about Things seen in the Bird Division #11: 'Til death do us part
Northerly Island, the Museum Campus park that occupies the peninsula where small planes once took off from Meigs Field, was re-opened last fall after a two-year, $9.7 million renovation project. I wrote a review of it at the time. Read more about Post-storm Northerly Island update
I have five public speaking engagements coming up in the next few months, all of them different. It would be great to see you there!
January 19 (Tuesday): Lake Cook Audubon Society (free)
7:00pm, Heller Nature Center, 2821 Ridge Rd, Highland Park "Tales from the Bird Crypt: Stories from the Field Museum Bird Collection" Read more about Upcoming public events! January-March 2016
The Field Museum is home to about 30 million objects—including a handful of super creepy ones. Here are some of our favorites that walk the line between scientifically valuable and downright horrifying. 1. Freezers full of dead animals deer_head.jpg Read more about Eight behind-the-scenes specimens that will haunt your dreams
The power of museum collections often comes from volume: with a higher sample size, more can be learned with great precision. But sometimes you can learn a great deal from a single specimen, too. Read more about Things seen in the Bird Division #10: Where did the waxwing go?
It's been a long time coming: after more than two years of construction, this morning Northerly Island officially reopened. Although not "officially" open until 10am, many people were out early this morning enjoying the new paved walkway that loops through the southern 40 acres of the park. I was one of those people, hoping for some interesting migrants and checking out the site's birding potential. Read more about Northerly Island reopens!