Reading a book about the history of the rediscovery and conservation programme for takahē (Takahē: Bird of Dreams) and thought Tumblr might appreciate this early failed breeding programme effort, where an attempt to stimulate breeding through competition resulted in…the two male birds ignoring the female in preference for each other. Imagine your otp etcetera
A very very quick Gastornis WIP, based on a Takahē before I head off to the psychologist.
I just saw a headline with a photograph of a Takahē and my brain went "mini Gastornis." Looking at illustrations of both skeletons made me feel confident in thar direction. I'm really proud of how the head came out. I haven't seen many paleo art where Gastornis's ISN'T ratite like, so I want to try a "round" giant waterbird gastornis. Unfortunately, before I realised what I was doing, I gave it a moa neck, and now I have no choice but to redo the head ( ; ﾟДﾟ). At least I have a photo of it now. A lot of the leg anatomy is messed up anyway, but I think I would like someone who is more skilled at paleoart than me try this concept out.
Now I'm wondering why Porphyrio hochstetteri re-evolved that ability where the other swamphens did not. Something about the island insular population, perhaps?
They're one my favorite birds, and one of the best examples of modern conservation's effectiveness. An ancient, human-friendly species that was though to be entirely extinct by the 1890's. Until a small population was discovered in the Murchison mountain range of Te Waipounamu in 1948.
Conservation in the period was limited, and often fraught with rows over interventionism versus attempting to allow the species to return by themselves. Politics manages to get in the way of many a good deed, doesn't it. Ultimately, the involved choice was made to set up multiple island sanctuaries: away from the invasive deer, stoat, and cats that poach their eggs and trample grasslands. They made the correct choice, in the long term, for the species.
Regardless, from just about one hundred birds to a increasing population of four hundred and forty as of 2021 is an astounding rebound.
They're the largest of their family, and they sound like the soft noises of a brass trumpet. I adore them.