Friday, November 11, 2011

Art and science collide!

Binoculars. Colored pencils. Early mornings. Rough drafts. In a world full of birds, art and science combine to make bird knowledge accessible.

Red-eyed dove - Streptopelia semitorquata) - Inumah

Agahozo-Shalom is rich in birds, and now its students can learn about them with a new poster illustrating more than 30 of the most common species.

The poster features drawings and the names of the birds in English, Latin (scientific), 
and Kinyarwanda. One of Rwanda's top bird guides (who is a native Kinyarwanda 
speaker) helped us to find the local names. A student artist completed 26 
of the species while Michele (the art teacher) completed 7 species. The poster is 
shown here in lower resolution because it is not yet ready for distribution.

Meet the artist: Rossi, a 9th grade student at ASYV, drew most the birds.
He was president of the student art club and spent his free time on
Saturdays and Sundays illustrating our feathered friends.

Cinnamon-chested bee-eater - Merops oreobates - Imisamanzuki

I used my field notes from over 100 bird walks at ASYV over the past year to determine which birds to include. All of the birds here are fairly easy to find and observe, although some of the visitors like African harrier hawk and black-headed heron are not always present. A few common birds such as tawny-flanked prinia, red-faced cisticola, and red-rumped swallow were excluded due to space constraints and/or difficulty of observation without binoculars. However, Michele and I donated a copy of Birds of East Africa (Stevenson and Fanshawe) to the library and several pairs of binoculars for anyone who wants to find out more information.

Speckled mousebird - Colius striatus - Umusure

Southern red bishop - Euplectes orix - Isawdi

The poster is in the science center and on an information sign at the nature park. Other groups who may see birds regularly (security and kitchen staff) have been given posters as well. The poster will hopefully be printed for display in other spots in Agahozo to help even more people learn about and enjoy the birds of Rwanda.

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