The Guardian have started their new Extinction Obituaries series with a memorial to a tiny songbird from Hawaii.
Extinction obituary: why experts weep for the quiet and beautiful Hawaiian po’ouli – The Guardian In 2004, the po’ouli got one last chance. It took six people 18 months and $300,000 to catch a bird. It was, remarkably, the same individual that Baker had snared seven years previously, when he became the first person to hold a live po’ouli. In that time, the bird had lost an eye. He was old – at least nine – and found captivity stressful. He died in Maui 11 weeks later, between 10pm and 11.30pm, on 26 November, of multiple (tiny) organ failure. He was the last po’ouli ever seen.
How many more of these articles are there going to be? Too many.
Some wonderfully atmospheric images from the unlikeliest of early twentieth-century photographers — pigeons.
The turn-of-the-century pigeons that photographed Earth from above – The New Yorker That perspective that is so commonplace to us now, in which the rooftops stretch out before us as though they were made of a child’s blocks, and people crawl along like ants, was a rare sight when Neubronner took his pigeon pictures. The photos offered a glimpse of the world rendered pocket-size, as it eventually would be via a hundred types of new technology—by airplanes, or skyscrapers, or Google Earth.
But there’s also something a bit wild about the photos, precisely because they were taken by birds. Their framing is random and their angles are askew; sometimes a wing feather obscures the view.
Pigeons are surely the most pedestrian of birds, but, looking at these oddly graceful photographs, or at Neubronner’s pictures of the birds looking stately and upright in their photo kits, they start to seem like heavenly creatures.
Another stressful Monday in the office? Let the birds from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology put things into perspective for us.
What can we learn about stress from birds – Cornell Lab of Ornithology: YouTube Stress is a common part of modern life, and everyone has experienced its negative effects. Many people even suffer health impacts from chronic stress. So why do we stress out when facing challenges? Research in birds is helping us to discover when natural selection favors a strong stress response, and when it is better to stay calm.
Carla Rhodes takes beautiful photos of strange-looking birds in an ugly situation.
A biologist, an outlandish stork and the army of women trying to save it – The New York Times After returning from India, I realized that my encounter with the greater adjutants had irrevocably changed me. Until then, I’d doggedly chased a career in New York City as a comedic ventriloquist while juggling mundane day jobs. Wildlife photography was relatively new to me; I had only considered it an enjoyable hobby. But suddenly I wanted to pursue conservation photography with every fiber of my being.
More Skeksis than stork, I think. But how they look is only half the story.
I quickly discovered the work of Dr. Purnima Devi Barman, a wildlife biologist who has dedicated her life to protecting greater adjutants. The founder of the Hargila Army, a local all-female, grass-roots volunteer conservation effort, Dr. Barman led her corps of women in protecting nesting sites, saving fallen baby birds and educating the Assamese community on the importance of these rare and endangered scavengers.
Needless to say, I’ve never seen anything like that round my way. Maybe I just need to keep looking.
As I mentioned before, one of the benefits of working from home is I get to enjoy the view of our little bird feeder all day. I’ll be back in the office at some point, I’m sure, but I know which website to turn to when I get there.
This hypnotic artwork from Andy Thomas is my favourite, I think. I’ve seen visualisations of bird flight before, but not their song. These reinterpretations of bird song take very strange and dramatic forms reminiscent of flowers, insects and the birds themselves.
Spanish photographer Xavi Bou has created some incredible images of birds in flight, layering thousands of shots to capture their movements and patterns.
Unseen movements: multi-shot photography captures the complex trails of birds Bou’s ‘Ornitographies’ series arises from his interest in “questioning the limits of human perception,” combining simple observation of bird behavior from the ground with photography to see what our eyes can’t show us. He takes inspiration from chronophotography, a Victorian technique capturing movement in a series of frames for the purpose of scientific study. Bou’s focus on the birds is less about science and more about the grace of their movements and their unintentional creativity.
These are such wonderful pictures. It’s a shame, though, that we’ll never see anything like this with our own eyes. Mumurations might come close, I guess.