New York City Travel
Vertebrated Animals, birds and mammals.    


Birds, the vertebrates following the reptiles in order of evolution, follow them also in order of exhibition in this part of the Brooklyn Museum, and on the north wall at this point appears a reproduction of the reptile-like extinct bird Archwopteryx, whose fossil remains in the Solenhofen slates have proved so important a link between reptilian and avian types.

The synoptic series of birds follows, and the case at the right contains the large ostrich-like birds, including the ostrich, cassowary, rhea and emu, the rare and almost extinct Apteryx of New Zealand and the tinamou of South America, the latter interesting because it seems to provide a connecting link between the ostrich-like birds and birds in general. Hawks, gulls, loons, penguins and other birds shown in this case form an interesting introductory exhibit.
The cranes and curlews, ducks and geese and their related families are next seen, followed by the pelicans, cormorants, bitterns, herons, storks and ibises, and in a floor case is a group of king penguins from Kerguelen Island in the Indian Ocean. There are seventeen living species of these birds, of which the emperor penguin is the largest. They are incapable of flight, awkward on land but at home in the water.

On the north wall at the vertebrates hall of the Brooklyn Museum, a deer skeleton finds a place, for lack of convenient space elsewhere, following which the birds of prey and those of the pheasant and pigeon families occupy the floor cases. Here the curious nesting habits of the greater hornbill of India are indicated.

To the right of this case are the woodpeckers, kingfishers and parrots, a portion of a tree trunk inset with acorns by the California woodpecker, and the curious wing coloration of the African plantain-eater, which washes out with rain, being especially interesting items.

The floor case opposite this exhibit contains the peacock, a native of India, and the Argus and other pheasants.
The perching birds (Order Passeres) are exhibited in cases to the west and south. This, by far the largest order of existing birds, contains several thousand species, ranging from the small and modest wren to the gorgeous birds of paradise. The lyre-bird of New South Wales, the rare Peruvian cock-of-the-rock and many brilliant and interesting specimens from India, China, South America and else-where provide material for a comprehensive purview of the order; the birds of paradise, twelve species, are placed in a separate case on the west wall. Nests of South American birds, showing colonies and various styles of bird architecture, are exhibited.

(On the other side of the vertebrate hall of the Brooklyn Museum are the marsupials and other mammals up to man. It is well, however, to visit first the exhibit of birds of Long Island, contained in Room I on this floor, and the exhibit of animals of Long Island in Room 3 ad-joining.)

The birds of Long Island are arranged in a series of cases and habitat groups around the walls of Room 1, and the aim of this collection and that in the adjoining room is to present eventually a complete series of the vertebrate fauna of this area. The bird collection is well on the way to completion and contains many forms notable because of their rarity. Among the habitat groups, that of the marsh hawk, a small bird feeding mainly on frogs, snakes and small animals, and that of the black-backed gull, a sea-coast breeder of the north but found in the autumn as far south as Virginia, are notably interesting. Pictorial representations of the heath hen, Labrador duck and great auk, birds of Long Island which have become extinct during the last century, are shown on the west wall of this room.

The mural paintings on the walls of this room represent typical shore and inland scenery of Long Island and help materially to relate the bird exhibits with their habitats.
Many of the perching birds of Long Island are exhibited in the corridor between Rooms I and 3, and here also a large map of the island, colored to represent contour and geological formations, may be seen. Over the entry between Rooms 2 and 3 is a model of the common porpoise.

The animals of Long Island, exhibited in Room 3, include mammals, insects and mollusks, fishes and reptiles being as yet unrepresented here.
A series of small mammals, including squirrel, wood-chuck, opossum, rabbit, skunk, weasel and other well-known forms, occupies a case on the west wall. A mounted specimen of the white-tailed Virginia deer is seen in the center floor case, north of which is a small habitat group of chipmunks, which completes the mammal exhibit here at the Brooklyn Museum.

Under the window a meadow-lark is shown with nest and young, on either side of which two cabinet cases contain respectively the butterflies and moths and the beetles of Long Island.
Exhibits illustrating the life histories of North American butterflies and moths, showing the various stages through which a moth or butterfly passes from egg to adult, together with its principal food plants and enemies, are shown at the other end of this room on the east and west walls.

On the west wall an exhibit of the brown-tailed and gypsy moths, showing the destruction caused by them, is intended to enable the public to recognize these pests.
The salt-water, fresh-water and land shells of Long Island are exhibited in two large cases in the center of this room.



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