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A Monthly Culture Matrix For the Cosmopolitan Traveler

Birds of the Northeast: Gulls to Great Auks

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Fairfield University Art Museum / Fairfield / Art

A century ago, the loss of a bird species usually came down to hunting. The Eskimo Curlew, the Great Auk, and the Passenger Pigeon were slaughtered in huge numbers for cheap meat. But habitat destruction was happening apace. Most species are connected, hand in glove, to their habitats. When the glove is gone—say, a vast expanse of old-growth forest is leveled and parceled out—the bird goes with it. This is what happened to the Ivory-billed Woodpecker in the 20th century. And it’s happening right now, not only through the endless spread of suburbs and real-estate development, but through warming temperatures that alter ecosystems, rising waters that flood out wetlands. The birds of America, glories that John James Audubon captured so rapturously, are in peril. This exhibition—which is available for viewing online while the museum is temporarily closed—uses paintings, sculptures, prints, drawings, photographs, and natural history specimens to explore the state of northeastern birds: who’s here, who’s not, and what can be done to protect our avian inheritance. —L.J.

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Fairfield University Art Museum 200 Barlow Rd, Fairfield, CT 06824
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