One evening last week, C.S.I. Walker Berg of the Portland Oregon Police Bureau looked out a window on the 12th floor of the Justice Center to discover an incredible sight: trees freshly covered in thick white snow were covered in yet another layer of thousands of black crows. Berg grabbed a Nikon D700 and snapped this amazing shot of the trees eerily lit from below by street lamps before the birds disappeared. The police department shared the image dubbed “Crows on Snow” on Facebook and Twitter where it quickly went viral.
Colombia-based artist Diana Beltran Herrera (previously here and here) has been fascinated by birds since she was a child, however it wasn’t until four years ago that she started working with their forms. Her incredibly lifelike depictions are built entirely out of cut paper and imitate a variety of bird species from all over the world. Each iteration of her work we have followed with intrigue, including one of her latest projects which incorporates her sculptural pieces into oversized postage stamps from countries which she has always admired.
“I always felt inspired by postage stamps as they are little windows of the world,” said Herrera to Colossal, “specifically those that contain birds which are often traveling around the word. I have collected a few and I felt that I wanted to open those stamps to a much more realistic scale to learn more about that particular animal and its landscape.”
Interested in wildlife far beyond its aesthetics, Herrera is also concerned with the ethical treatment of animals, especially when it comes to the illegal wildlife trade of birds happening in her country and abroad. You can see more of her paper sculptures of birds, fruits, and flowers on her Instagram and Facebook.
Here’s an eye-popping glimpse inside sketchbooks belonging to illustrator Ivan Belikov (previously) who depicts everything from the fragile wings of birds to the momentous weight of prehistoric creatures as they smash through buildings with delicate pencil strokes. He shares additional process photos and competed illustrations on Tumblr and over on Behance.
After noticing the birds in Michigan were far different than those in her native Germany, Lisa M. Ca., an amateur photographer, began photographing them with her DSLR. In an attempt to find more creative ways to capture the variety of species that flew through her backyard, Lisa purchased the Bird Photo Booth 2.0. The device uses a motion detector to snap its shutter, capturing birds with a macro lens at ten images per second. After selecting her favorite images of the mourning doves, blue jays, and cardinals that feed from the Photo Booth’s attached seed bowl, Lisa touches up the images in Photoshop. You can follow more of her backyard photography on her Tumblr. (via Bored Panda)
We’ve long been fans of Olympia, Washington-based artist Chris Maynard (previously) who assembles shadowboxes of cut feathers depicting the silhouettes of birds as they sing, perch, and swoop across the canvas. With a background in both biology and ecology the artist recalls working with feathers as early as the age of 12, utilizing heirloom forceps, eye surgery scissors, and magnifying glasses passed down through his family. Maynard acquires feathers for his artwork from zoos and private aviaries.
Collected here are a number of recent works, some of which will be on view at an upcoming solo show next year at the Bainbridge Museum of Art. You can see much more on Instagram and Facebook.
A micro-CT scan reveals the delicate feathers that cover the dinosaur tail. Photo by Lida Xing, courtesy National Geographic.
The first known dinosaur tail preserved in a piece of amber was recently discovered by paleontologist Lida Xing while collection samples in Myanmar last year. Dating back to the mid-Cretaceous Period some 99 million years ago, the roughly apricot-sized piece of amber contains a 1.4-inch appendage of 8 vertebrae unmistakably covered in primitive feathers. Scientists ruled out the possibility of the tail belonging to a bird, and based on its structure believe it came from a juvenile coelurosaur, a group of dinosaurs that includes tyrannosaurs. Via National Geographic:
While individual dinosaur-era feathers have been found in amber, and evidence for feathered dinosaurs is captured in fossil impressions, this is the first time that scientists are able to clearly associate well-preserved feathers with a dinosaur, and in turn gain a better understanding of the evolution and structure of dinosaur feathers.
The findings were first published today in a report co-authored by Ryan McKellar in Current Biology and you can read more on National Geographic.