Thursday, April 7, 2011

Long-tailed Cuckoo

My first theory and research paper was due this week which led me to the research topic I will be working with for the rest of the semester and hopefully beyond. Here it is, try not to fall asleep...The Lasting Effects of the Discovery and Documentation of Avian Species During the Victorian Era. Ta-dah!

I've been doing endless research on the topic and I'm fascinated with New Zealand born colonists' desire to be accepted by their "homeland" (not unlike colonists' views in the U.S.). Sir Walter Buller (with an endless list of letters at the end of his name) was a lawyer, politician, and most famous for his ornithological discoveries. He is a prime example of this need to belong and thought that collecting titles and promotions was the way to gain status among his London born and breed colleagues. He fought to become a "gentlemen" but was looked down upon because of his "colonial upstart".

Buller loved the honor of receiving a prestigious medal (represented in the painting above). If he wasn't handed the medal he wanted, he petitioned for it and more often times than not received it.

The bird above is a long-tailed cuckoo. Cuckoos are brood parasites. They lay their egg in another species nest (in the long-tailed cuckoos case it's the nest of the whitehead, yellowhead, or brown creeper). After laying the egg, the cuckoo's parental duties are over and the whitehead parents take over.

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