Each week, staff at Powdermill Nature Reserve staff posts stunning,
high-resolution photos of birds that land in their nets on their Facebook page.
The photos show detailed characteristics of local birds, like the
subtle coloring of a Common Yellowthroat or the sharp beak of a Pine
Siskin, that are hard to see as they fly above.
Powdermill is Carnegie Museum of Natural History’s environmental
research center in Rector Pa, where thousands of birds are identified, banded,
and released each year. As they band, research staffers often snap pictures
that highlight the huge variety of different birds flying through Western
One favorite is the Ruby-throated hummingbird, which has
iridescent, fuchsia feathers on its neck that abut a dark green heads and long
Comparing the Powdermill pictures to Bird Hall in the museum
is an interesting exercise. For example, Powdermill’s high resolution pictures let
you appreciate each and every line of the hummingbird’s bright feathers. But in
the museum, to see a taxidermy mount of a ruby throated humming bird
helps you grasp the miniscule size of these little birds that don’t often grow
larger than 3.5 inches.
Powdermill’s pictures and Bird Halls specimens work
in tandem to encourage us to pause and consider tiny players in our huge
local ecosystem, helping us all foster a little more appreciation for the