Twentieth-Century Explorer: The Collection of Dr. and Mrs. Herbert Spencer Dickey

By ELIZABETH FISHER

Romantic stories of early adventurers and the emerging social science of ethnographic fieldwork influenced the twentieth-century physician and explorer, Dr. Herbert Spencer Dickey.

Starting in 1900, until his death in 1948, Dickey traveled through the northern and western regions of South America, collecting curiosities from the native peoples of Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, and Brazil. Many of these objects made their way into the ethnographic collections of public institutions across the country, including the Dayton Society of Natural History.

Of his many expeditions, Dickey is credited with discovering the source of the Orinoco River and famously returned from his honeymoon excursion, with his Ohio bride, Elizabeth Staley Parker, and a shrunken head.

Clockwise: Waistband, Axe, Nose Ring, Basket Continue reading

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Falcon Cam Final Update – July 27, 2018

DSC_1879

By ELIZABETH TOTH

Unfortunately, all three fledglings have experienced trouble.  Each of the young falcons has struck a building in downtown Dayton while learning to fly.  The first chick was injured on July 9 and the second fledgling struck a building on July 13.

The first two injured fledglings were doing fine and able to be released in downtown Dayton on July 17.  The third fledgling is now at Glen Helen Raptor Rehabilitation center in Yellow Springs with an injured wing and will require additional rehabilitation before its flight capabilities can be evaluated.

Editor’s Note: The Falcon Cam has been discontinued due to a lack of activity at the nesting site.

Elizabeth Toth is the Associate Curator of Live Animals at the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery.

The History of the Joseph (J.) Morton Howell Collection

Howell Beads

By  ELIZABETH FISHER

Between 1926 and 1927, Joseph (J.) Morton Howell, U. S. minister to Egypt, donated close to 100 Ancient Egyptian objects to the Dayton Society of Natural History (DSNH), including a mummy named Nesiur. 

Howell Egyptian ScarabHowell was born in 1863 on a farm sixty miles north of Dayton, Ohio. Howell had a long and prosperous career in the medical field. He was one of the first doctors to specialize in the study of infantile paralysis (polio) and other childhood diseases.

President Warren Harding appointed Howell as the first United States Minister to Egypt on October 7, 1921. Howell and his daughter, Lorena, were the first diplomats from the United States to be invited to King Tutankhamen’s tomb by its discoverer Howard Carter.

Howell brought Egyptology to Dayton, by presenting Nesiur to the DSNH in 1926. Howell

Howell Falcon godwas given Nesiur by famed Egyptologist Herbert Eustis (H.E. Whitlock, after she was excavated during the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Theban Expedition of 1921-1922.

Howell left Egypt on July 27, 1927, passing away ten years later at seventy-four.Howell Egyptian Urn

Falcon Cam – July 9, 2018: Fledglings Aloft!

By LIZ TOTH

July 9, 2018

The chicks have taken their first flights!  It is likely the two chicks that hatched first were the first to fly.  One chick remains on the ledge on the south side of the building which could indicate his flying skills are not as strong as the others yet.

The fledglings are now as large as their parents even though they are only about 6 weeks old.  Fledgling falcons have longer flight feathers than the adults to make it easier to learn the flying skills needed to become an excellent hunter in their first year.  The parents will continue to provide food for the fledglings.  Dayton was seen dropping off food for the youngster on the south ledge this morning.

This image shows the ledges on the east side of the Liberty Savings Tower with the nest box circled in red:

Liberty Bank Nest

Liberty Savings Tower

These ledges and the other buildings around provide good landing spots for short flights for the young peregrine falcons.  Since they have taken their first flights they are referred to as fledglings but will be dependent on their parents for food until they can hunt for themselves (about 4 weeks later).

Once the fledglings are adults and experienced flyers they can fly at about 60 mph when flying level and they are known to reach speeds of up to 200 mph when hunting in a stoop, or dive. Occasionally they will make it all the way down to the ground and land safely but are not skilled enough to make it up to a higher location from the ground.  If this happens the young peregrines may need help to make it to a higher location.

The young peregrines need close observation in downtown Dayton during fledging and will be monitored over the next several weeks.  The nest box, as viewed on the Falcon Cam, will often be empty until they can increase their flying skills and may return to the nest box as a safe location while they practice hunting with their parents.

Liz Toth is the Associate Curator of Live Animals at the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery

 

Falcon Cam – July 1, 2018

By LIZ TOTH

July 1, 2018

The chicks are getting so big!  They are now about 5 weeks old and could take their firsts flight this week or next.  If you do not see them in the nest box it is because they have figured out how to move from the ledge of the nest box to the large roof area behind the nest box.

In this large space they can begin to stretch their wings in preparation for their first flights.  This is also a good space to take practice hops and flap their wings to gain strength.  The chicks do not have all of their flight feathers and the younger chick still has quite a bit of white downy feathers.

With the weather being so hot the roof provides a good breeze and also a three foot high wall around the roof to provide protection.  Their parents are always close by watching for danger as the chicks prepare to take their first flights soon.

As of Wednesday they were still spending quite a bit of time in the box but were very close to the ledge:

Falcon Cam Pic July 2

The older chick, who is darker and has more adult feathers, seems to have led the two younger chicks around to the rooftop so you may see an empty box.

We are monitoring the chicks at the Liberty Savings Tower site even when they cannot be seen on the Falcon Cam to make sure they are doing OK and do not need any assistance.

In the image below you can see what the back of the nest box looks like and the pebbled roof with the wall around it where the chicks are spending a lot of their time.

Falcon Nest Box Rear

Liz Toth is the Associate Curator of Live Animals at the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery.

Falcon Cam Update – June 14, 2018

By LIZ TOTH

June 14, 2018

The chicks are growing very fast.  They are now about three weeks old.  At this age, the diameter of their legs is full size so in the past they were banded by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife at this age.

In 2015 they were removed, or “downlisted”, from the list of threatened species in Ohio.  The Division of Wildlife will continue to monitor select peregrine falcons nests in Ohio.  The Dayton nest is one nest of a sample monitoring program to assess the health of the peregrine population.

Data collected includes the presence of the falcon pair at the site, whether or not eggs are laid, how many of the eggs hatch, and how many chicks are successfully fledged at the nest.  Fledging is when the chicks take their first flights around six weeks old.

The two chicks that hatched earlier than their siblings already have dark flight feathers showing through their downy fluff.  By six weeks old the chicks will be as large as their parents.

The three chicks seem to be doing well.  It is hard to say why the fourth egg did not hatch, but we have only had four chicks three seasons in the 16 years of the Dayton Falcon Cam.

Now the chicks are much larger and are able to move around inside the nest box.Growing13June2018

One week ago they were unable to move very far and stayed grouped together:

Liz Toth is the Associate Curator of Live Animals at the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery.

Falcon Cam – May 25, 2018

by LIZ TOTH

The falcons have been spending a lot of time wiggling on the eggs to press the bare skin on the chest, called the brood patch, down on the eggs to keep them warm.  In species where only the female incubates the eggs the male doesn’t develop a brood patch.  Male and female peregrines both have brood patches because they share incubation of the eggs.  If you watch the Falcon Cam you’ll see the adult peregrines rock side-to-side as they settle on thHatchdayisbusye nest.  This rocking opens the feathers that have curled over the brood patch and puts their skin in contact with the eggs.

The chicks should hatch very soon.  As the date for possible hatching draws closer we can expect to see the female arranging the stones around the scrape as she prepares for hatching.  Just prior to hatching she may hear the chicks inside the eggs and seem more alert.  The female has been very alert today indicating hatching should be soon.

Liz Toth is Associate Curator of Live Animals at the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery.