Sunday, August 16, 2009
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Rare tropical birdskins similar to a selection stolen from the from the Natural History Museum's ornithological collection at Tring, Hertfordshire Photo: PA
Priceless tropical birds stolen from Natural History Museum
Thieves have stolen a priceless collection of tropical birds from the Natural History Museum collection in Tring, Hertfordshire. Curators said almost 300 brightly-coloured specimens were taken, some of which are more than a century old, and which are a priceless part of the world's ornithological heritage.
Detectives said the artefacts may have been stolen to order for a collector or for their valuable plumage. They fear the irreplaceable birds may be ripped apart for use as fishing lures, in dressmaking or costume jewellery. Detective Inspector Fraser Wylie, who is leading the inquiry, said the birds were clearly deliberately targeted, possibly by an expert. He said: ''This is a very unusual crime and we are keen to recover the bird skins, which are part of our national heritage.
''Some of these may be irreplaceable and have been part of our UK heritage for years. People have studied these for generations. ''We are appealing for anyone who may have seen any suspicious activity around the museum at the time of the break-in. Also, we would ask any collectors of such specimens to keep a watchful eye out in case they are offered anything resembling them.''
Professor Richard Lane, director of science at the Natural History Museum, said his staff were extremely upset by the theft. He said the birds play a key role in studying the history of their species and may prove impossible to replace. Prof Lane added: ''It is quite hard for us to express just how tragic this is to members of the museum. This is the nation's collection. These birds are extremely scarce: they are scarce in collections and even more scarce in the wild. Our utmost priority is working with the police to return these specimens to the national collections so that they can be used by future generations of scientists.''
Humans never cease to amaze me with their inability to just "be good." These skins are not only valuable to the folks at the Hertfordshire Museum - they are valuable to all of us and deserve to be respected. Just shameful.
Posted by Pam at 11:02 AM
Friday, August 7, 2009
I finally got an up close view of my 2nd group of bluebird fledglings. (Mom disappeared about three days before they fledged, but Dad remained ever vigilant in feeding and caring for them.)
Once they fledged, I only ever saw Dad at the feeder. He would go in, eat a few dried meal worms then take several back to the babies high in the trees.
About a week ago, they decided to be more social - at least long enough for me to get some photos of the little darlings !