I just started volunteering at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History as a Teen Docent. We're supposed to sit at these carts that basically have mini exhibits on them, and we get to show them to visitors at the museum, and the people can touch the mini exhibits and stuff. We have a bunch of carts all over the museum, and each one goes with the exhibit hall that we're in. But that's not all that we do. We also meet scientists from the museum and take tours with them. That's what we did today.
We met a scientist (I forget his name) who was in charge of taking care of all the bird specimens. We went into this room and started to ask him different questions about the birds out in the exhibits. There was a big table in the middle of the room, and it was surrounded by all these cabinets. Once we started to ask questions about what kinds of birds the museum has but hasn't put on display, he opened a cabinet and pulled out a drawer. And this is what we saw:
It's a drawer full of dead birds!! AAAHHHH!!!! (Just to clarify, I am not grossed out by this, but I was shocked that I was surrounded by dead birds)
All of these birds in the picture are extinct. If you look at the bird in the back row and two birds in from the right, (the one that has some red on his head) that's an ivory-billed woodpecker.
After he showed us that cabinet, he lead us into this other room that isn't open to the public. It looked pretty much like a cramped hallway at first, but the walls had these big gears on them. The guy started to turn the gears, and the wall split in two to reveal that each side of this parted wall was made out of cabinets. And guess what was in these cabinets! Dead birds!!! The cabinets went as high as the ceiling of a classroom, and all had specimens of dead birds like these:
|They killed Hedwig!|
|These birds are really pretty|
It was absolutely amazing. There's no way that I would have ever seen anything like that anywhere else. It was also very odd. All of these birds, they're dead and have been lying here for a really long time. You could even smell their decaying bodies. It smelled really bad-I wouldn't recommend buying air freshener that smelled like that.
The scientist said that the museum has thousands of specimens of birds, and I believe it! Other than these birds I have shown here, there was also a cabinet dedicated to albatrosses, a cabinet dedicated to ostriches, and a couple of cabinets had a bunch of eggs in them.
Some of these birds were absolutely gorgeous. It was cool seeing them there, and being able to look at them really closely (if you could get that close, because as you got closer to the bird, the smell got worse), but really, I think it'd be even more awesome if I was able to see these birds in their natural habitat.