Collections: Viewing Rare Birds In Digital 3-D (Video)

How close have you ever gotten to a wild bird? Can you remember the details of its plumage or the curvature of its beak? Did it sit in one place long enough for you to really study all of its colors and other characteristics? Probably not—at least if it was alive. The avid birders among us sometimes search their whole life for a glimpse of a particularly rare species. But if you are just a casual observer of the winged creatures around us, the ones you do see likely come and go as flashes of color and sound. For ornithologists, the elusive nature of birds is just part of the job. Beyond fieldwork, though, access to rare or extinct species or those with a limited range can be especially difficult to get. If you were, say, hoping to study the green-headed tanager (a riotously multicolored songbird native to South America) and unable to travel to the northeastern region of the continent where it can be found, you would have to ask a museum to send you a specimen in the mail. Access to rare specimens, such as those of extinct birds, can be especially difficult to get.

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