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Photography

Winners and Honorable Mentions of the 2017 Bird Photographer of the Year

August 31, 2017

Christopher Jobson

Winner, Bird Photographer of the Year 2017. Feeding Flamingos by Alejandro Prieto Rojas.

The winners of the 2017 Bird Photographer of the Year were recently announced, a competition that celebrates the best photographs of birds culled from thousands of submissions around the world. Now in its third year, the competition is a joint venture between Nature Photographers Ltd and the British Trust for Ornithology. This year’s winner was Alejandro Prieto Rojas for his photograph of flamingos feeding their offspring while nesting at Río Lagartos in Mexico. You can see a full gallery of winners here.

Birds in the Environment, silver. Crane flock misty lake by Piotr Chara.

Attention to Detail, Silver. Grey Heron looking under wing by Ahmad Alessa.

Bird Behaviour, Silver. Diving Kingfisher by Malek Alhazzaa.

Birds in Flight, Gold. Australian Pelican landing on water by Bret Charman

Birds in Flight, Silver. Red Kite close-up by Jamie Hall.

Birds in Flight, Honorable Mention. Seagulls and fox by Gabor Kapus.

Best Portfolio. Great Grey Owl by Markus Varesvuo.

 

 



Amazing Photography

Footage of Over 30 Hummingbirds Splashing in a Birdbath

August 24, 2017

Christopher Jobson

Youtuber WildWingsLA has a special birdbath setup specifically for hummingbirds outside their Beverly Hills home. Known for being territorial, it’s rare to see so many birds at once, but at times the frame fills with dozens of them. Fun fact: a group of a hummingbirds is called a charm. (via Laughing Squid)

 

 



Animation Art

Visual Sounds of the Amazon: Digital Lifeforms that Respond to Audio Recorded in the Amazon Rainforest

August 23, 2017

Kate Sierzputowski

Australian artist Andy Thomas (previously here and here) presents his first installment of Visual Sounds of the Amazon, a responsive artwork that alters its visual shape based on audio Thomas collected from the Amazon rainforest. The animation sequence is one that can hardly be described, as bright bursts of light escape a tangle of blue and yellow helixes each time a bird squeaks, with similarly colored balls orbiting the digitally-composed mass.

Previously Thomas has made responsive artworks to other flora and fauna, specifically using recordings created in Australia and the Netherlands. This particular iteration will be screened at Render, a festival of animated hybridizations in Lima, Peru. You can view/listen to more of his otherworldly and adaptive video work on his website.

 

 



Art Craft

Biodiversity Reclamation Suits: Extinct Bird Costumes for Urban Pigeons Crocheted by Laurel Roth Hope

August 15, 2017

Christopher Jobson

Paradise Parrot and Guadalupe Caracara, 2013. Crocheted yarn, hand carved pigeon mannequins, walnut stands.

When first engaging with these crocheted bird suits by artist Laurel Roth Hope it’s not without a bit of whimsy and an immediately appreciation for her skill with yarn and needle. The colorful one-of-a-kind sweaters are each designed to fit a standard urban pigeon, complete with a hood retrofitted with eye and beak holes. While the project isn’t without a bit of humor, its warning is particularly dire: each suit represents an extinct bird species and highlights the futility of restoring lost biodiversity. The works are purposely displayed on hand-carved pigeon mannequins to suggest that animals we most abhor are often the ones most capable of thriving within a human-made environment.

Hope has worked as a natural-resource conservator and park ranger, both of which have deeply influenced her artwork that explores themes of environmental harm, extinction, and consumerism. You can see many more of her Biodiversity Reclamation Suits in this gallery.

Concord, 2008. Cotton, silk, bamboo, wool, and acrylic. Blended yarn mannequin: basswood, acrylic paint, gouache, glass, pewter, and walnut.

Seychelles Parakeet, 2015. Crocheted yarn, handmade pigeon mannequin, walnut stand.

Urban Pigeons: Dodo II, 2014. Crocheted yarn, handmade pigeon mannequin, walnut stand.

Passenger Pigeon II, 2014. Crocheted yarn, handmade pigeon mannequin, walnut stand.

Carolina Parakeet, 2009. Crocheted yarn, hand carved pigeon mannequin, walnut stand.

Carolina Parakeet (detail)

Bachman’s Warbler, 2015. Crocheted yarn, handmade resin pigeon mannequin, walnut stand.

 

 



Design History

The Ornate Bird Palaces of Ottoman-Era Turkey

July 28, 2017

Kate Sierzputowski

Several photos courtesy of Caner Cangül

An important element of Ottoman architecture in Turkey was the addition of birdhouses affixed to the outer walls of significant city structures, a safe space for regular avian guests to nest outside of mosques, inns, bridges, libraries, schools, and fountains. The birdhouses were not simple concrete structures, but rather elaborate feats of miniature architecture that ranged from one-story homes to multiple-story bird mansions. Each was designed with a similar design aesthetic to the country’s larger buildings, simultaneously providing shelter to sparrows, swallows, and pigeons while preventing bird droppings from corroding the walls of the surrounding architecture.

In addition to providing shelter, the birdhouses fulfilled a religious vision. They were thought to grant good deeds to those that built the tiny homes. Through their abundance and care, the structures encouraged a love of animals in the Turkish public, citizens who adopted several nicknames for the homes over the years including “kuş köşkü” (bird pavilions), “güvercinlik” (dovecots) and “serçe saray” (sparrow palace).

Only some of these bird mansions remain today, however their place is firmly rooted in Turkish history. Nearly every city in the country contains examples of the bird homes, the oldest example, a 16th-century house attached to the Büyükçekmece Bridge, still surviving in Istanbul. (via Jeroen Apers)

 

 



Amazing Photography

Floaty Bird: When a Camera’s Frame Rate Matches a Bird’s Flapping Wings

July 18, 2017

Christopher Jobson

When reviewing the security footage from outside his house in Austin, Texas, Al Brooks spotted an unusual sight: a bird seems to hover past the camera with its wings completely stationary. Of course it wasn’t really hovering (and no, it’s not suspended by strings) but rather the frame rate of the camera matched the flaps of the bird’s wings perfectly resulting in a stroboscopic illusion. This is the same stroboscopic effect you might see in a video of airplane propellers that aren’t moving or when the wheels on a car appear to be frozen. (via Swiss Miss, Neatorama)

 

 



Art

Bird by Bird: Miniature Bird Paintings by Dina Brodsky

June 14, 2017

Christopher Jobson

“Bird by bird I’ve come to know the earth,” said Pablo Neruda in his book Art of Birds, a quote that has since inspired artist Dina Brodsky to begin her own exploration of birds in an ongoing miniature painting project by the same name: Bird by Bird. The artist first began the project last year as a way to explore the native birds around New York city as her now 18-month-old baby napped in a stroller. The endeavor has since grown to incorporate more rare and exotic birds depicted in everything from ballpoint pen to watercolor and gouache. The bird paintings have become so popular with fans that she’s created a dedicated Instagram account to collect them all.