Jr.NS had a special behind the scenes tour inside the Royal Ontario Museum’s massive Bird Collection rooms. This vast collection houses more than 140,000 specimens, including extinct species like the Passenger Pigeon and Great Auk.
Our featured Naturalist was world class bird expert Mark Peck. Mark’s field expeditions have spanned the globe and he’s worked in the ROM’s Natural History Department for 35 years.
The painting in the top photo is an original titled “Wolf Pack in Moonlight.” Each week I show the children Bob’s work through books and calendar images, which is fine, but in no way can it replace the immersive experience that a large painting like this provides. You can read more about this painting in Bob’s own words on page 118 in The Art of Robert Bateman.
Returning to birds, Mark opened up the cabinets so the kids could closely examine the preserved skins, eggs, bones and also touch the wings of a Red-tailed Hawk and Barred Owl. The children also learned the “Who cooks for you....Who cooks for you all” call of the Barred Owl.
Following the tour, Jr.NS got busy sketching mounted birds which included many species found across Toronto. The class wrapped up with a mini show & tell and a challenge to our Naturalist! Several weeks ago, the kids were taught how to draw feathers and we put Mark to the test by asking him to look their feather sketches and identify which bird it comes from.
A big thank you to Mark Peck for taking Jr.NS behind the scenes and allowing us to stay and sketch birds! In many ways, the children are following in the footsteps of Robert Bateman, who at the age of 12, would come to the ROM on Saturday mornings for the Junior Field Naturalists’ Club. It’s entirely possible that one of these kids will grow up to be the next Bateman!
Happy Nature Sketching!