Curated by Nature
[in collaboration with]
The Nature History Museum, Vienna
Guestworkers or migrants are frequently compared to, or like to compare themselves to, migrating birds. This metaphor is especially common among ex-Yugoslavians. It has often been used in literature, political speeches, pop culture and the media. Bogomir Doringer approached the Natural History Museum in Vienna with an unusual request: to select birds whose narrative and history could be compared to “Gastarbeiters'” past. The museum's experts suggested an initial selection for the showcase at the exhibition, but also introduced some unexpected comparisons. The term "invasive species" came across as important and was not to be ignored. An invasive species4# is a plant, fungus, or animal species that is not native to a specific location (an introduced species), and which has a tendency to spread to a degree believed to cause damage to the environment, human economy or human health. We have also added birds to the vitrine that never go home, who stay in the new territory and become part of its ecosystem. Sometimes they stay because the quality of life is better, or because their origial habitat has changed and no longer provides them with the necessary quality of life.
Streptopelia decaocto, the Eurasian Collared Dove might be the most interesting example. This bird came from Asia via the Balkans and laid its first egg in Austria in 1940. It is considered one of the most beautiful doves today, a real Viennese bird.