I keep forgetting to share all of my amazing Museum of Zoology experiences with you! So this is me catching you up. I spend half of my time in the Mammology division helping Lucy the grad student reorganize and update the skeleton collection. The other half of my time is in Ornithology preparing bird specimen into skins or skeletons. Here are some pictures I took!
- This is a bobcat skeleton (Lynx rufus superiorensis). Bobcats were the first section that I got to help out in so of course I had to document the occasion.
- Northern coyote skeletons (Canis latrans thamnos). There are entries from all over northern Michigan, just boxes upon boxes of specimen. Sadly, many of them have their skulls blasted by buckshot and I have even found the remains of the shot still lodged in the skull.
- Panther skulls! I didn’t sort through the panthers, these were just sitting out and holy crap are they huge.
- There is lots of taxidermy just hanging around. This armadillo doesn’t look too shabby… But there are some pretty poorly done pieces to be seen as well.
- Raccoon! (Procyon lotor) This little fellow is in the museum itself, not in the collections. So you can visit him if you want! I get the pleasure of passing by this exhibit every time I go to work.
- Skinned bird preserved in glycerin. Its bones are stained red while the cartilage is stained blue to show developmental changes of a growing bird. This was a neat little excursion with my supervisor that started off with “Hey, you wanna see something cool?” “Um, yeah!”
- This is a cedar waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum), one of my current favorite birds. Notice the bright orange tips on the primary wing feathers. They have this pale yellow stomach with warm grey feathers lying just beneath the layer of yellow. And cute little crests! Simply stunning. Unfortunately, he had to be skeletonized. While his feather look beautiful, he was left out in the warmth for too long after he died so his skin lost the integrity needed for a good skin.
- And here is my crow! She is gorgeous. I never knew crows could be so beautiful until I got to hold one up close. Although they are all black, the different shapes and textures of the different feathers on their bodies makes them appear equally fluffy/cute and sleek/elegant. In this photo she has been skinned, stuffed, and pinned for drying.
There you go! This has been my life since the start of 2014 and I can’t wait to see where the rest of the year takes me. SCIENCE.