Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Hummingbirds and the Greenish Puffleg

As a volunteer involved in the Skin Deep project, I have had the opportunity to handle rare, sometimes even extinct birds from the collection. As volunteers and interns, it is our task to catalogue the mounted bird and bird skin collection.

Each drawer contains a range of specimens. Some of the drawers I have catalogued contained wading birds, common British garden birds, birds of prey to exotic colourful birds that have beautifully vibrant plumage.

I was fortunate to get a drawer of hummingbird specimens, which, from the perspective of a recent Fine Art graduate, were the most stunning.

The Greenish Puffleg (Haplophaedia aureliae) originates from the humid climate of South America. Its name refers to the pure white down feather tufts found on the legs of both the male and females, like little white trousers. The image shows one a little worse for wear from our collection.

I have been very lucky to be involved in this project and I'm looking forward to discovering the next exciting drawer. Why don't you come along on one of the next Behind the Scenes tours to take a look for yourself?

By Hannah Tiffany, Natural Sciences volunteer, 2014.

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