Your Shot photographer Scott Summers captured this image of some Canadian Geese enjoying the wetlands of Canastota, New York.
“The only sound throughout the swamp on this late spring morning were three geese honking at one another,” writes Your Shot photographer Scott Summers.
“They gathered at the head of the lake, where a fog bank rolled in just as the sun peeked over the trees to wrap the area in an ethereal glow. As I watched, the goose in the center of the trio pivoted toward the sun and, as if in greeting, arched out of the water and flapped its wings.”
A Beautiful Keel-Billed Toucan Keeps a Watchful Eye in Panama
by Robert Montenegro
It turns out there’s a lot more to toucans than pitching Fruit Loops and Guinness. Check out the Sites below to learn all about these very popular, very colorful tropical birds.
Via WAZA (the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums):
“Their beak’s [sic] serrated edges help the toucans hold fruit or other food at the tip, which then is thrown into their throat with an upward toss of the head. The long beak also helps to pluck fruits that are on branches too thin to hold their weight, as they reach far out from their perch on thicker branches.”
“Even though these beaks appear large and cumbersome, they are actually very light (yet strong), as they are made out of spongy and hollow bones that are covered in keratin (a light protein that also makes up human hair and finger nails).”
“The keel-billed toucan is the national bird of Belize, where it is commonly seen outside of restaurants asking for handouts.”
A distinct black shape, tumbling in the updrafts of a mountain crag – a raven at play.
The ‘gronking’ call of a raven is one of the most evocative sounds of Britain’s uplands. The raven is probably the world’s most intelligent and playful bird. In the world of myth, it is a bird of paradox, and something of a dark clown.
Its association with playful intelligence is perhaps exceeded by its image as a bird of death. Its harsh call, and its presence in remote wild places and at scenes of death, has earned it a reputation as a bird of ill-omen.
After all, the old collective noun for a group of ravens is an ‘unkindness’. Yet there is so much more to the raven.
An old Scottish name for the raven is ‘corbie’, which is thought to have been derived from the Latin ‘corvus’. One Scottish legend reflects the dark beliefs about this bird. It tells of an evil hag called Cailleach who appeared in the form of a number of birds, including the raven, and feasted on men’s bodies.
This large crow appears again and again in Celtic lore. In Welsh folklore, Bran the Blessed (Bran is Welsh for raven) is a kind of primordial deity and guardian of Britain whose totem is a raven.
Bran ordered for his own head to be cut off, after which it could still speak words of prophecy. Eventually it was said to have been buried beneath Tower Hill, at the Tower of London.
The presence of ravens at the Tower is an echo of this legend and the prophecy says that if the ravens ever leave the tower, Britain will fall (hence their wings are clipped, just in case!).
Interestingly this Welsh word appears in Scotland, and Strath Bran, in the north of the Trees for Life Target Area translates as ‘Strath’ or Valley of the Raven. They are still present there today.
Arthur, another legendary guardian of Britain, is also associated with ravens. In Cornwall, which is also steeped in Celtic lore, it was believed that Arthur didn’t really die, but was magically transformed into this bird.
The Celts were a warlike people, and the presence of ravens on the battlefield would have been very familiar to them. The Irish goddess, Morrighan, had a number of different guises. In her aspect as bloodthirsty goddess of war, she was thought to be present on the battlefield in the form of a raven.
Odin, the chief of the Norse gods, was accompanied by a pair of ravens, Hugin (thought) and Munin (memory), who would fly far and wide to bring news to Odin. One of Odin’s names, Hrafnagud, means the ‘Raven God’.
In the Old Testament, the raven is the first bird Noah sent to look for land, and Elijah is described as being provided for by ravens. They are used as a symbol of God’s providence in both the New Testament and in Christian art.
Our hunter-gatherer ancestors would have observed the keen intelligence of this bird.
It has a well-documented habit of deliberately revealing the whereabouts of deer, so that wolves can find their quarry, and leave spoils, which the ravens could eat.
Even some modern deer-stalkers report that ravens will help them to locate deer, as the birds know that they will receive the ‘gralloch’ or guts after the deer is killed. However, there was apparently a belief among some stalkers that three ravens was a bad omen.
The indigenous people of the Pacific Northwest of North America were well aware of the raven’s multifaceted nature, and Raven was revered as a major deity and something of a trickster. He features frequently in the distinctive artwork of these people.
There is probably more folklore concerning the raven than any other bird in Britain.
While some of this is somewhat sinister, the more we get to know this playful and intelligent bird, the more respect we might realise it deserves.
John Gould (1804–1881) one of the most prolific ornithological artists of the 19th century, had a romantic enthusiasm for winged creatures, as well as a passion for natural history and an impulse to catalog.
Drawing on his outstanding scientific and artistic talents, he embarked on a series of projects that would eventually make him the leading publisher of ornithological illustrations in Victorian Britain.
Gould’s unparalleled career spanned five decades, during which he produced a series of books depicting birds from all over the world.
Diana Beltran Herrera is a Colombian designer and illustrator who creates realistic, vibrantly colored paper birds.
Diana Beltran Herrera hand-makes the paper birds by building up layers to form the base structure, then glues on delicate feathers that are curled and splayed once attached. Wire legs are added and feathers are painted to make the models as realistic as possible.
Each model takes from 5 days to 2 weeks to complete depending on size and complexity.
Diana Herrera holds a BA in industrial design from Jorge Tadeo Lozano University in Bogota, Colombia. She gained her first work experience in Finland under the Faroese-Danish artist Hanni Bjartalid.
This majestic creature is a Victoria Crowned Pigeon (Goura victoria), a large, bluish-grey bird native to New Guinea. The bird is named in honor of the British monarch Queen Victoria.
The elegant crest of feathers on its head also forms the pigeon’s “crown.”
In addition to its bluish hue, the Victoria Crowned Pigeon has several features that distinguish it from the pigeons that roam around New York City: It has a distinctive, maroon breast, a crest of feathers with white tips, and bright red irises.
The Victoria Crowned Pigeon is the largest of all living pigeons, and can even stand as tall as a turkey. Photo: Wikipedia
Congratulations to Cindy Upchurch for winning the recent Discovery Landscape Photography Assignment with the image, “Naknek Alaska Eagle.
”This was taken in Naknek, Alaska, on Bristol Bay during the salmon run of July 2018,” says Upchurch. “This was a new location for me as I had never seen so many eagles nor been in Naknek.
The eagles were on the beach and cliffs/bluffs just waiting for the fish to be caught in the nets. It was quite amazing.“The bluffs along the bay were mostly brown and blended in with the eagles’ feathers, making composition a challenge.
Light was important for the eagles to show their brilliant shades of browns against the brown cliffs. Trying to get different expressions from the eagles and against the dark background took a fast shutter and steady hands.
With the hundreds of eagle pictures I took during this time, I love the fact that this eagle took the light on this high cliff in the middle of these white wildflowers and green grass during morning hours.”