January Speaker Program: Ancient Southwestern Ornithology and Continuity of the Four Corners


January 26, 2021

Time: 7:00 pm (Tuesday)


ZOOM: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84676099470?pwd=ZmsvMHp2eFppYjk4b2JjN0ZHcWdYZz09

FACEBOOK LIVE: https://www.facebook.com/Northern-Arizona-Audubon-Society-678850928825284


Name of presenter: Chuck LaRue


Chuck LaRue analyzing a prehistoric man’s hair ornament at the Museum of Peoples and Cultures, Brigham Young University. Photo by Laurie Webster.

Chuck LaRue is a wildlife biologist and naturalist who has worked extensively with birds on the Colorado Plateau and other areas of the Southwest for 35 years. He has conducted bird inventories and surveys for Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Grand Canyon National Park, Canyon de Chelly National Monument, Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site, and on northern Black Mesa. He also assisted in a prey habits study that identified bird feather remains from Peregrine Falcon nests sites throughout Arizona. He has recently developed an interest in Ancestral Puebloan technologies and lifeways on the Colorado Plateau and has replicated many prehistoric artifacts. He will share examples of these replicas with the audience during the presentation.

Program Notes:

Modern Puebloan peoples of the Colorado Plateau have deep and ancient relationships with the birds of the region, and traces of these still living relationships are often preserved in the archaeological record. Bird imagery and depictions of bird behavior appear in prehistoric rock art, ceramics, jewelry, and basketry. Birds figure in many of the Puebloan creation stories and in many aspects of the Puebloan universe. Even today a great variety of feathers are still used in myriad religious and utilitarian contexts. In this talk we will explore expressions of this ancient Southwestern ornithological tradition. I will be relying heavily on Dr. Laurie Webster’s Cedar Mesa Perishable Project, which is a multi-year effort that has documented numerous artifacts made from feathers. Photographs of many of these artifacts will be shown and discussed.