Exhibit Title: Convergent Evolution and the

                      Biology of Birds  (13 pictures)

Crown Law School, Stanford University

1997

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Rooster and Ben Franklin

Ink and Charcoal

8x10 inches

©1992

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Muscovy Duck and Iguana

pencil

14x10 inches inches

©1997

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Artwork is available

Exhibit Title: Birds Through a Lifetime

Children’s Library, Palo Alto, CA

1993

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Pollution--Clapper Rail and Pepsi

Collage--ink, Charcoal and photocopy of can.

32x40 inches

©2000

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scroll

Exhibit Title: 750 Years of Record-keeping (4 pictures)

Falconer Library, Stanford University

2003

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Cat and Mouse

Ink and Charcoal

27x33 inches

©2000

[written in 2003] All five tiger subspecies (Siberian, Indo-Chinese, Sumatran, Bengal and South China) have captive breeding programs, and most of the 1,800 tigers in zoological parks are captive-born.  Of them, about half are registered in the International Species Inventory System, the computer-based information system designed to coordinate captive breeding efforts.  Among those registered, about three-quarters are Bengals  (348) or Siberians.(336).

Cross-fostering of captive-born cubs to free-living resident females introduces new genetic material, and increases the chances of survivorship of captive-born cubs in the wild but requires extensive monitoring and pinpoint coordination.  The rarest tiger subspecies, the South China, however, has no free-living representatives, and a 50 percent probability of extinction within five years or two generations.

Reversal in the decline of these cats depends, more than ever, on the role of the mouse.

Drumstick and Calf

Gallus gallus

Watercolor and gauche

24 x29 inches

© 2003/2005

 

[written in 2006] The legs of birds seem to be backwards, with the knee bending the wrong way.  But, as those familiar with birds know, bird knees bend the same way ours do, and what looks like a backwards knee, is really the ankle.  This means the feet of all birds are rather large, and those of herons, egrets, ibis, spoonbills, flamingos and cranes are truly enormous.  This also means that, unlike people, when birds stand on their toes they don’t get any taller, for with rare exceptions (e.g., loons and ruddy ducks) birds always stand on their toes.

 

This painting of a hen and a woman also provides a platform to note that the chicken (Gallus gallus) is the most plentiful bird on Earth, that there are more chickens than people, that the human-chicken relationship is 4,000 years old, and that humans control just about every aspect of chicken behavior, including the provision of food and protection, while chickens provide – in addition to the obvious -- insights into human behavior that range from hen-pecking to pecking order.

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Exhibit Title: Food for Thought

Falconer Library, Stanford University

2006

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Exhibit Title: Charles Darwin

Falconer Library, Stanford University

2009

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Nicobar Pigeon and Dodo

13 x 23 inches

pencil by Darryl Wheye

2002

 

The Nicobar Pigeon (34 cm), the closest living relative of the Dodo (100 cm), is a wary bird capable of hiding its head within its long neck hackles. It forages among fallen leaves on the forest floor of small tropical islets.

The Dodo head in this drawing is based on a lithograph from The Dodo and its Kindred (Strickland, H.E. and A.G. Melville, 1848, London). The preserved head (Ashmolean Museum, Oxford) is from a specimen that had been tagged for “destruction” in 1755 under an Ashmolean guideline stating that old and “perishing” specimens should be replaced. Replacement, however, would have proven impossible; all subsequent Dodo “specimens” are fakes.

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Reading the Wallace Letter
8 x 10 inches

pencil by Darryl Wheye
1996

[written in 2009] The drawing of Charles Darwin is based on a photograph by Henry Maull and John Fox that might have been taken in 1854. More likely, though, the photo was taken in1859 or 1860 when Darwin was 51. It shows Darwin reading the (lost) letter of October 10, 1856 from Alfred Russell Wallace. Here is a portion of Darwin’s reply of May 1, 1857:

 

"Down Bromley Kent May 1— 1857

 

My dear Sir,

 

I am much obliged for your letter of Oct. 10th. from Celebes received a few days ago… I can plainly see that we have thought much alike & to a certain extent have come to similar conclusions. In regard to the Paper in Annals, I agree to the truth of almost every word of your paper; & I daresay that you will agree with me that it is very rare to find oneself agreeing pretty closely with any theoretical paper; for it is lamentable how each man draws his own different conclusions from the very same fact.—


This summer will make the 20th year(!) since I opened my first notebook, on the question how & in what way do species & varieties differ from each other. —


I am now preparing my work for publication, but I find the subject so very large, that though I have written many chapters, I do not suppose I shall go to press for two years.—"