When noted author and naturalist Scott Weidensaul gave a talk at DeKorte Park earlier this week, he pointed out the bird and said that it could be a fairly rare specimen.
Sometimes history is staring you in the face and you don’t even know it. The bird above is from the Meadowlands Commission’s taxidermy collection from the Meadows in the late 1800s, donated by Mrs. Caroline Geigold of Secaucus many years ago.
Her grandfather, Karl Zeeb, collected bird specimens in the Hackensack Meadows during the latter part of the 19th Century and had them mounted into a display. Many of these birds would have inhabited the Atlantic White Cedar Forest that grew in much of the Meadows.
You can read more about this bird and its demise here.
As it turns out, the Heath Hen was John James Audubon’s first published engraving. More about that here.
The Meadowlands Commission also has a taxidermy Passenger Pigeon, extinct for nearly 100 years now.