Réunion Kestrel

This diddley bow is made of a small Gil Gonzales Davila cigarbox. These boxes sound very nice. It has a broomstick as a neck. The notes (fretmarkers) are woodburned in the neck, with different symbols. Due to the long neck, 3 octaves are playable on that one string. It has a bullskull inlay and some extra woodburned details. A attached cowshorn functions as leg-support. It is amplified with a piezo disk as well as a homemade magnetic pickup. A switch can be used to select between the two different pickups. Besides that it has volume and tone control. The whole guitar is stained with a vinegar steel wool solution and finished with linseed oil.

This diddley bow is named after the Réunion Kestrel (Falco duboisi) for a reason. The Réunion Kestrel is an extinct bird of prey which belongs to the falcon family. It inhabited the Mascarene island of Réunion and was part of the Western Indian Ocean radiation of kestrels. Because it is extinct, not much is know about this falcon. Known from subfossil bones and the writings of Dubois published in 1674 they say the bird has the size of the common Kestrel (wingspan 60-70 cm). It can be assumed that the bird was of the same generally brownish coloration as its closest relatives, with a lighter underside and darker spots or stipples, the tail, brown or more probably grey, being banded and tipped black. Its feet were yellow and large relative to the bird's overall size.The bird fed mainly on birds, but certainly also on insects and the local gecko; Dubois noted that despite their small size they were able to prey on (presumably half-grown) domestic chickens

The extinction of the Réunion kestrel, which thus seems to have been complete around 1700, is something of a mystery, just as that of the Réunion owl. Introduced predators were not present in numbers at that time and even rats probably would not have presented much of a problem for the birds. Certainly, they were considered a pest as they fed on poultry, but hunting is unlikely to have been able to reduce their population much at such an early time, as evidenced by the continuous survival of the marsh harrier, which was heavily persecuted for centuries for the same reason.

The guitar has this name to raise awareness for the pressure that people have put on ecosystems and the wildlife they accommodate. Nature is declining globally at rates unprecedented in human history – and the rate of species extinctions is accelerating, with grave impacts on people around the world now likely. The health of ecosystems on which we and all other species depend is deteriorating more rapidly than ever. We are eroding the very foundations of our economies, livelihoods, food security, health and quality of life worldwide. It is a terrible loss when we lose more animal species and functioning ecosystems that have been around longer than us. The wildlife and healthy natural ecosystems are more important than all our other desires and the luxury humans pursue. Our consumerism is going crazy with a huge impact on environmental pollution, exhaustion of natural resources and destruction of ecosystems. This really hurts me deeply, and I think many around me feel the same way. “Biodiversity and nature’s contributions to people are our common heritage and humanity’s most important life-supporting ‘safety net’. But our safety net is stretched almost to breaking point,” Besides being our safety net, it is holy in my opinion, and ultimately fascinating in its beauty and complexity. We should not destruct it any longer and start to protect and restore on a bigger scale. Personally we can change our own impact by the choices we make daily. The name of this guitar is Réunion falcon, because I think we should reunite with nature and the animals around us. Play the role we should play in the system, not elevate ourselves above the natural world. We should take care (be care-full) with our planet, all our actions should be examined on the impact on the environment, and compe

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