“One swallow does not make a summer, but one skein of geese, cleaving the murk of a March thaw, is the spring.”
The great naturalist Aldo Leopold took detailed notes in his journals every morning before sunrise, logging the birds he heard calling on his farm in rural Wisconsin. Now, using journals from the Aldo Leopold archives, and bird calls from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, researchers at UW-Madison have replicated what Aldo Leopold would have heard one morning on his farm in the 1940s autoplays bird calls.
Adam Doyle paints "beautiful gestural portraits of birds," according to the art blog Colossal. His other work includes book covers, paintings and illustrations aimed at children, and contributions to the 52 Shades of Greed card deck (4 of clubs, 5 & 6 of hearts, and 7 of spades).
Nature constantly engineers new and creative solutions to all sorts of problems—turning our stereotypes about sex upside-down along the way.
Staying_On-Topic in r/intelligentanimals posts a huge number of links explaining why Corvids (crows, ravens, magpies, etc) are amazing.
Photographer Todd R. Forsgren works with ornithologists to safely capture striking images of birds in nets. [more inside]
Rosemary Mosco is a field naturalist who draws bird & nature comics: "bird and moon" (previously), "ghosts of the northeast woods", "bird sound mnemonics", "birds are gross", "evolution sucks". Her bi-weekly comic strip Wild Toronto ("It cleverly observed and taught us about the animals and plants that live in our city") ran on Torontoist for some months in 2008; she has an illustrated collection of 55-word stories as well (previously mentioned). Her website, flickr, & tumblr.
Bowerbirds, a family of 20 species in eight genera, are a fascinating bunch of birds who range from New Guinea and Australia. Some are flashy, others drab, but all are named for the "bowers" (avenues, huts, or towers of sticks; source) that the males craft and decorate to attract a mate. There are regional styles (PDF) in the design of the bowers, and the male Greater Bowerbirds even employ optical illusions. Some, like the Vogelkop Bowerbird, add mimicry vocal to their repertoire of courting methods. Add accidental cultivation to the list of fascinating features of the bowerbirds. [more inside]
Birds are gorgeous but you can't have pets and can't abide stuffed animals. What's a bird lover to do? Vegan Taxidermy to the rescue! [more inside]
An Anna's hummingbird on a tiny nest, smaller than an ivy leaf, with two hatchlings therein. Watch it live. [more inside]
Next weekend, February 17-20, is the 2012 Great Backyard Bird Count, sponsored by the National Audubon Society, the Cornell Lab for Ornithology, and Bird Studies Canada. [more inside]
High Speed Animal Flight Videos Show Hidden Aerial World. The Dutch Program Vilegkunstenaars (Flight Artists) sent high-speed video tools to amateurs around the world with the challenge: Capture nature in flight. They then picked the best from the over 2,400 slow-motion clips that were uploaded. [more inside]
On the 6th of December 2011, as has been traditional for the past 9 decades since Finland's Independence, the President, Tarja Halonen and her spouse, Dr Pentti Arajarvi host what is known as the Linnan juhlat or Castle Ball, an extremely popular televised reception for the notables of the nation. Along with the usual dignitaries, the President is also permitted to select invitees based on merit - entertainers, athletes, individuals - whom she feels have been in the news in the past year. This year Peter and Teija Vesterbacka also were invited due to Peter Vesterbacka's work as the CMO of Rovio. Teija Vesterbacka wore a red dress for the evening that had design concepts from one of the birds in the mobile game Angry Birds. Highlighted in the Finnish news by the very select group of photographers permitted entry to this exclusive event, it was when the photograph of this dress went viral among global MSM that the angry birds began to fly.
Islands make up only about 3% of the earth's land area but host about 20% of all species and 50 to 60% of endangered species. The biggest threat to islands are invasive species, mainly rats, but also pigs and cats, who feed on nesting birds and native plants. New Zealand has been the innovator in clearing islands of rats because of its endangered populations of flightless birds which are vulnerable. One species of flightless parrot, known as the kakapo, has only 131 individuals left in the "wild" - they are closely guarded 24x7 on Codfish Island, their nests surrounded by rat traps and cameras vigilantly on the lookout for invaders. [more inside]
Ghost of Gone Birds. Over 100 artists were invited to choose an extinct bird and produce a piece of art inspired by that particular bird and celebrating its glory days. Birds celebrated in the show include the Dodo, the Matinique Amazon Parrot, the Black Mamo and the Great Auk.
How to hatch a dinosaur: 'So making a chicken egg hatch a baby dinosaur should really just be an issue of erasing what evolution has done to make a chicken. Every cell of a turkey carries the blueprints for making a tyrannosaurus, but the way the plans get read changes over time as the species evolves.' [via]
Ghostly images remain on windows after bird strikes. No blood, no gore.
Cats are apparently the culprits behind several avian extinctions worldwide. So, are cats bad for the environment?
In 1998 three birders--Sandy Komito, Al Levantin and Greg Miller--had their big year attempt chronicled in 2004 in a book of the same name by Mark Obmascik. Due to a few fortuitous circumstances including some spectacular fallout on Attu, a remote Alaskan Island, Komito's 1998 record of 745 species has never been surpassed. Their friendly yearlong rivalry is being documented further in a motion picture featuring Owen Wilson, Steve Martin and Jack Black coming out later this year. [more inside]
What is Bird Poop? What Do Nesting Birds Do With All That Poop? Poop From The Front End. The Poop Wars of 1879. Poop Week has just concluded at 10,000 Birds, with stories, dirty science and beautiful photos at "the intersection of poop and birding, a fertile precinct if there ever was one." [via The Agonist] [more inside]
Cool paintings of birds by Maurizio Bongiovanni [embedded good music], an Italian-Chinese artist included in the sumptuous art blog ArtOdyssey, which is really worth exploring. [more inside]
Red kites; slow motion; bacon. What's not to love?
Earlier this month a pair of red-tailed hawks built a nest at NYU's Bobst Library, outside the window of the office of University President John Sexton. Bobby and Violet (named after the Library and NYU's school color) have been sitting on three eggs for the last month, with a webcam running a live feed. Based on a photo taken last night and analysis from hawk experts, it is believed that at least one of the eggs has begun hatching.
Laughing Owls. That is all.
Who invented the cloacascope? Who could pinpoint minute structural characteristics of charred bird feathers and identify the bird species or family based on the feathers? Who was the oldest of 15 children and worked for more than 50 years at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History? Roxie (large image). Roxie C. Laybourne, feather detective, pioneer of forensic ornithology. [more inside]
Every Anime Opening Ever Made (an admittedly exaggerated title) is a SLYT romp through the repeating themes in 93 different opening sequences, compiled by Derek Lieu (via Neatorama) [more inside]
The Rufous Hummingbird measures only 4-inches, but it can pack a lot of beauty into that small package. Often described as "feisty," it weighs just a little more than a penny. With a migratory range of 1500 km, the Rufous has the longest known avian migration proportional to its size.
Since the very beginning, PRI's This American Life has (every few years) commemorated Thanksgiving in the US with episodes about the exotic mysteries of turkeys, chicken and other fowl. They call it Poultry Slam and episodes from 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2003, 2007 and 2008 are all available for your turkey day and I-refuse-to-even-look-at-a-Walmart day enjoyment.
An estimated 10,000 migratory birds whose flight path took them through Manhattan earlier this month became (temporarily) disoriented and trapped in the 88-searchlight glare of the 9/11 Tribute in Light memorial.
17 Atlantic states want to capture alive then kill and and bury 450 000 Canada Geese. Norman Spinrad says that it's a lot of meat so we should eat them.
"I'm trying, of course, to give a sense of objects moving through and being supported by or buffeted by, the wind or water" - sculptor Brad Story [via MeFi Projects]
Need some new moves in your dating arsenal? You could get low and funky, like an ostrich. Or even funkier, like a horned pheasant. [more inside]
The Urban Bird Sounds Project and podcast. The students of Codman Academy Charter Public School have developed a free CD to help you learn to "recognize bird sounds in the city." [more inside]
Fifty matchbooks, from when smoking was cool. Fifty Halloween masks. Fifty birds. Fifty personals. Fifty other things.
The Finches: some of the best angular, atonal, postpunk, improvisational guitar I've heard in a while. [more inside]
Things stuffed inside other things: You've heard of turducken, but what if that isn't enough for you? The largest stuffed dish in terms of sheer bulk may be this recipe for stuffed camel, a dish so decadently large that Snopes had to verify its existence. But if the stuffed camel isn't enough layers for you, the most nested dish of all time may be the Roti Sans Pareil ("Roast without Equal"), a 19th century French dish requiring 17 birds that are now mostly endangered. Thanks to Google Books, we can now peruse some 19th century recipes of the dish (1, 2, 3) or, if you prefer, you can read the original French.