Great Argus Pheasant

This is a photo of the wing and tail feathers of the Great Argus Pheasant in the Museum of Zoology here in Cambridge. The bird is of course stuffed. There is a notice about conservation and environmentalism with the glass cases of stuffed birds that line one side of the exhibition hall.

Basically it says that that was then, and this is now, and we think differently that in those times.

Of course, in those times pesticides and plastic waste had not wreaked the havoc that they have done in these more enlightened times.

The exhibit that surprised me was the Wandering Albatross. Tamara and I saw Wandering Albatrosses flying low near the boat on a trip we took. We took a boat trip out into the Atlantic off the coast in South Africa to see Humpback Wales and Southern Right Whales.

Seeing the bird in the air, flying low over the waves, I had no idea just how big it is.

It is the size of a pig. Huge. And a great pity that it is dead and in a case. Of course, it would have died of old age many many decades ago. But still.

Linnaeus named the Great Argus, and he chose the name ‘argus’ because of the eye-like patterns on its wings, in reference to Greek mythology, and Argus, the hundred-eyed giant.

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