Michigan State University

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Michigan Bird Conservation Stories: Pigeons Past to Plovers Present

This exhibit explores Michigan’s bird conservation stories from losses of the past to modern successes including Trumpeter Swans, Sandhill Cranes, and Piping Plovers. See how we learn from past mistakes to ensure the future of many bird species in Michigan.

“This exhibit provides a great opportunity to get people to think about our impact on the environment,” explains Dr. Pamela C. Rasmussen, MSU Museum assistant curator of ornithology and assistant professor in the MSU Department of Integrative Biology. “We tend to take the natural world for granted, but we really can’t. Hopefully this exhibit will help create awareness that translates into positive action.” Rasmussen co-curated the exhibit along with science education and outreach coordinator, Kara Haas from the W.K. Kellogg Biological Station.

The conservation success story of the Trumpeter Swam is highlighted in the exhibit. In the early 1900s Trumpeter Swans were hunted almost to extinction as feathers and skins were highly sought after by Europeans. In the 1990s the Trumpeter Swan Restoration Project began to reintroduce the swans to Michigan. In 1992 the first wild Trumpeter Swan egg hatched in Michigan in over 100 years. The species is now well-established in the state.

In addition to compelling conservation stories the exhibit features numerous specimens from the MSU Museum collections. The exhibit opening coincides with the American Ornithological Society meetings being held at MSU from July 31 to August 5, 2017.

Additional Feature:

Birdsong in the Museum, commentary by MSU Museum Director Mark Auslander about the exhibit Michigan Bird Conservation Stories: Pigeons Past to Plovers Present.

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