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Can the birds painted on still lifes by Albrecht Kauw 1616-1681 be used as indicators for the Swiss avifauna? Die Vogelwelt auf den Stillleben Albrecht Kauws 1616-1681 eine Quelle fuer die Faunistik?


, : Can the birds painted on still lifes by Albrecht Kauw 1616-1681 be used as indicators for the Swiss avifauna? Die Vogelwelt auf den Stillleben Albrecht Kauws 1616-1681 eine Quelle fuer die Faunistik?. Ornithologische Beobachter. September; 993: 161-186

Albrecht Kauw, who was born in Strassburg, is evident in Bern since 1639. More than 200 paintings, ceilings, frescoes and mural paintings are preserved or are known as photographic reproductions. On 16 still lifes (all oil paintings) the birds, their history and phenology have been analysed. From 1 to 56 birds have been found on a single painting, at least 163 individuals altogether. The Sky Lark is the most abundant species with at least 39 individuals on 6 paintings. Mallard, Woodcock and Song Thrush can be found on 6 still lifes as well. The occurrence of a Great Bustard on 4 paintings is striking. Kauw depicted exclusively wild birds that at the time could be observed either as breeding birds, as passage migrants, as winter guests or as exceptionally occurring species. All wild birds are painted dead, without any injuries. By contrast, 18 of 20 individuals of domestic fowl (ducks, hens, pigeons) are painted in living state. The authors discuss the occurrence of the different species in connection with cultural history, hunting regulations and social milieu of Bernese patrician life in the 17th century.

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