Part A: Common Redpoll (Saqsakiq)
Here in Anchorage in March the birds are starting to get happy from the increase in sunlight and warmth and due to that a flock of birds ascended to the local bird feeders in the neighborhood. The bird pictured was flocked with more if its kind and feeding on a bird feeder with sunflower seed hearts and suet. This little one landed on the snow to pick at food spilt on the snow and to avoid the commotion on the feeder itself. I have been around bird feeders for several years now and have come to recognize several of the local species that visit the feeders in town, this one is quiet easy to distinguish as a Common Redpoll, the short light colored beak and feather pattern are easy to see in the image but the red cap is not due to the lighting. I uploaded this image to the iNaturalist website here: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/71730856
The observation has yet to be IDed by another so it remains unconfirmed at this time. This is a fun and interesting website to observe and study your local environment and those that you share it with, I can see this being a wonderful tool for those in rural communities to document the changes occurring in their environment as we experience the increasing changes brought on by climate change. I have relatives that have studied and observed their subsistence use lands for over 50 years and with the aid of a website like this could document this data to be useful for those in the future. Most of this data is simply kept in oral traditions through hunting stories but the shift or integration of this kind of record keeping could assist those with the mind to observe the change of their environment over time. Observing the environment had been an active practice of my ancestors since before contact, this new kind of tool adjusts that kind of practice into western and scientific terms but still does what my ancestors did observe, notice, remember, share and study that which is around you.
Part B: Long-tailed Duck (Aaqhaaliq)
I have found this part of the assignment very challenging, I found that most of the databases that I looked at were not user friendly for me and the lack of standardization for the user interfaces only added to that. It reminds me of the early days of the internet before search engines were easy to use and navigate. That being said, I was able to find something that interests me using a museum database. As a visual Artist, images and specimen measurements rule my artistic research. I have an interest in the Aaqhaaliq (Long-tailed Duck) and so I was looking for them, I found that they do exist in some collections data bases but not as many as I had thought and I found that I could not find an images of them in the ones that did have them in their databases! The only images that I could find were of Aaqhaaliq uvluutit suli mannik (Long-tailed duck nest and eggs) like this one: https://arctos.database.museum/guid/CHAS:Egg:115
I could not find any images or measurements of the adult specimens but maybe this is due to my lack of experience or knowledge in using these sorts of data bases or maybe they don’t share that sort of data. Those particular details would be very useful to me as a wood carver whose work represents natural living resources. I tried using the common name (Long-tailed Duck) and scientific name (Clangula hyemalis) for my searches but I also know that this particular species has an old name that is derogatory but I did not use that name for these searches and I hope that I would not have to to conduct this sort of research. I hope to use these sorts of databases in the future for my artistic research and hope to learn more about them in order to use them effectively in planning for my future project’s museum research process. Quyana!
Q: What sort of data would you like there to be in a museum database?