Gourmet Fair

In Reverence to Rare Birds

Resplendent quetzal , Pharomachrus mocinno, of the Trogonidae family, Central América, Mexico. Photo ©photographie musée des Confluences – Olivier Garcin. Handout via The Gourmet Gazette

Birds have fascinated the planet from the very beginning. Colorful, vocal, they fly (most of them do anyway), they seem to be around all of the time, singing in the garden, jaunting about in parks. They come in myriad colors and sizes ranging from the tiny hummingbird to the very tall ostrich. But these wonders of nature are also endangered and for some in danger of extinction. There are some 9,000-10,000 species of birds recorded on our planet but 40% of them see their numbers declining, mostly because of human activity — deforestation, pollution, intensive agriculture — while 13% are endangered or in danger of extinction. An exhibition devoted to the rare birds of the world is being played out in Lyons, France right now. If you are waiting for the museums to re-open and if you can’t get to France when they do, The Gourmet Gazette brings the show, entitled The Rare Bird from the Swallow to the Kakapo and being held at the Musée des Confluences, to you.

Nest of Scops owls, Otus scops, of the Strigidae family, Eurasia, Afriqua, Photo ©photographie musée des Confluences – Olivier Garcin. Handout via The Gourmet Gazette

A resplendent emerald green quetzal, a nest of Scops owls, a kakapo also known as the parrot owl are among the birds on display. The quetzals have striking colors and are regarded as one of the spirit guides of the Maya. Unfortunately they are hunted for the beauty of their feathers and their habitat is in decline. The resplendent quetzal, Pharomachrus mocinno, is listed by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature as Near Threatened on the organizations Red List. The Scops owl is a nocturnal bird, hunting by the cover of night. These owls, Otus scops, are found in Europe, northern Africa, Asia Minor and central Asia. It is currently not considered to be endangered. Unique among parrots, the kakapo hails from New Zealand. It is regarded as unique for it is flightless, nocturnal (kakapo means parrot of the dark in the Maori language) and it is the heaviest parrot in existence. This unique bird is listed as critically endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

Chimborazo hummingbird, Oreotrochilus chimborazo , of the Trochilidae family, Ecuador et Colombia. ©collection de Claudius Côte -photographie Pierre-Olivier Deschamps / Agence VU’. Handout via The Gourmet Gazette

The Musée des Confluences, which sits on the confluence of the mighty Rhone and Saône rivers, with its collection of more than 30,000 specimens has the second largest collection in the country after that of the National Natural History Museum. The show offers a look at 240 birds through specimens from the museum’s collections which include naturalized or stuffed birds as well as skeletons, nests, eggs and even Egyptian mummified birds. The exhibition is on through to January 2, 2022
©The Gourmet Gazette
You can visit the museum and exhibition on-line at:

The shoebill stork of the Nile, Balaeniceps rex, of the Balaenicipitidae family, Africa. Photo ©photographie musée des Confluences – Olivier Garcin. Handout via The Gourmet Gazette
The exhibition poster. Handout via The Gourmet Gazette

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