Friday, 9 May 2008
Explaining things to friends
It seemed that not a day would go past last week without something to do with Jays turning up. I guess it started on Sunday morning in Battersea Park when a good friend of mine said they'd seen a couple, then continued through a BBQ Sunday afternoon and so on.
I can't remember the last time I saw one, I'm not really a huge fan of birds, and don't go out of my way to look for them. But to round off a Jay-infested week I did see one today, and unusually I was quite pleased to see it. Now I only need to find my quetzal....
Anyway, that wasn't the point. I did try to explain what a Jay looked like to one friend, feeling pretty certain that they'd seen them many times. All my descriptions of feather colours, posture, etc. failed. As a last shot I said "imagine a crow that's been paintballing", and suddenly the picture clicked. Perhaps we should rewrite the keys...
I work on projects related to technology and taxonomy at the Natural History Museum, and as an advisor for the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature. My interests are in entomology (stick insects, cockroaches and insect acoustics) and how technology can change the way research is done in biology and museums. Big fan of open access, open data and open hardware.
Copyright Ed Baker