It takes a big painting to do justice to the phenomenal history and diversity of birds. It also takes an artistic process that is as much about the science as it is about the aesthetics. Get a behind-the-scenes view of how artist Jane Kim brought all 270 species to life on this ambitious natural history mural in this short film narrated by Cornell Lab of Ornithology Director John Fitzpatrick.
Category Archives: Nature
NATURE: “Nature’s Oddest Looking Animals Top 5” / BBC Earth ☮
One of the many wonders of nature is its biodiversity and the variety of creatures found on Earth. But some are more distinctive than others! These are just some of the more ‘quirky’ animals on our planet.
ORNITHOLOGY: “Caw vs. Croak: Inside the Calls of Crows and Ravens” / Cornell Lab of Ornithology / Kevin J. McGowan ☮
Crows and ravens can be tricky to tell apart by sight, but their voices are much more distinctive. Watch this video for some expert tips on the sounds these two common birds make and what those sounds mean.
American Crows and Common Ravens have a repertoire of sounds beyond their signature “caw” and “kraa” calls. The crow often makes a rattle sound along with its territorial caw and also communicates through other click and bell-like notes. Ravens broadcast their presence through deep, throaty kraa calls. Narrator Kevin J. McGowan, an ornithologist at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, uses harmless wing tags to study crows around the Cornell Lab. In this video, he compares the calls of American Crows with those made by Common Ravens.
NATURE: “Playful Killer Whales Breach the Surface of the Water in Monterey, California” ☮
NATURE: “Why Peregrine Falcons are the Fastest Animals on Earth” / Vox ☮
Cheetahs may pop up faster in search results, but peregrines are actually the fastest animals on earth.
This video features a clip courtesy of Human Planet, a BBC, Discovery Channel and France Television Co-Production.
Check out BBC Earth Unplugged’s video of “Falcon vs Car”:https://youtu.be/iq5DxzTTVgo
Peregrine falcons are the fastest animals of the land—and it’s no wonder, their bodies are built for speed. While cheetahs can run up to 70 mph on land, peregrine falcons can dive at speed of over 200 mph. That’s faster than a 100 mph sneeze and around the same speed as a Formula One racing car. Peregrines are light in weight, aerodynamically shaped, and have robust respiritary systems; all of which allows them to be the fastest birds of prey, and animals in general. Peregrine falcon numbers took a massive hit during much of the 20th century in North America. They became nearly extinct because of pesticides, specifically DDT. The chemical made the falcon’s—and many other birds — eggshells thinner, preventing the embryos from developing, in addition to poisoning adult falcons. In 1972, DDT was banned and recovery efforts for peregrine falcons began soon after. By 1999, with concerted effort peregrine falcons saw their numbers increase dramatically and were removed the Endangered Species list.
VEGITARIANISM: “Little Cute Girl Doesn’t Want to Eat Meat” ☮
NATURE: “Watch These Frustrated Squirrels Go Nuts” / PBS Digital Studios / Deep Look ☮
Humans aren’t the only creatures that get frustrated. Squirrels do too. One researcher wants to know, could there be an evolutionary benefit to losing your cool?
NATURE DOCUMENTARY – OCEANOGRAPHY: “Desert Seas” / National Geographic / Narrated by David Attenborough ☮
Desert Seas narrated by David Attenborough tells the story of how the peninsula of Arabia transformed from an ocean millions of years ago to the desert it is today.
The Gulf is now home to a myriad of sea creatures but, just as Arabia was once ocean, a mere 10,000 years ago this expanse of water was a swampy flood plain.
Since it drowned as sea levels rose, the Gulf is now the world’s hottest and saltiest open sea.
The Red Sea, on the other hand, is a far older coral-fringed chasm formed as plate tectonics pulled Africa and Arabia apart; its reefs are prowled by huge moray eels and their shrimp entourages.
Splash into the waves that line this desert land and join us as we explore these waters in stunning HD and see what other treasures hide within these mysterious and little-studied seas.
NATURE: “Sea Urchins Pull Themselves Inside Out to be Reborn” / PBS Digital Studios / Deep Look ☮
Conceived in the open sea, tiny spaceship-shaped sea urchin larvae search the vast ocean to find a home. After this incredible odyssey, they undergo one of the most remarkable transformations in nature.
POETRY – FREE VERSE: “Walt Whitman: Leaves of Grass” / Freedom From Religion Foundation ☮
I think I could turn and live with animals, they’re so placid and self contain’d,. . . .
They do not sweat and whine about their condition,
They do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins,
They do not make me sick discussing their duty to God,
Not one is dissatisfied, not one is demented with the mania of owning things,
Not one kneels to another, nor to his kind that lived thousands of years ago,
Not one is respectable or unhappy over the earth.
~ Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass, 1891 edition
On this date in 1819, Walt Whitman [May 31, 1819 – March 26, 1892] was born on Long Island. After working as clerk, teacher, journalist and laborer, Whitman wrote his masterpiece, Leaves of Grass, pioneering free verse poetry in a humanistic celebration of humanity, in 1855. Emerson, whom Whitman revered, said of Leaves of Grass that it held “incomparable things incomparably said.” During the Civil War, Whitman worked as an army nurse, later writing Drum Taps (1865) and Memoranda During the War (1867). His health compromised by the experience, he was given work at the Treasury Department in Washington, D.C. After a stroke in 1873, which left him partially paralyzed, Whitman lived his next 20 years with his brother, writing mainly prose, such as Democratic Vistas (1870). Leaves of Grass was published in nine editions, with Whitman elaborating on it in each successive edition. In the preface of the 1855 edition of Leaves of Grass, Whitman wrote, “This is what you shall do: Love the earth and sun and animals, despise riches, give alms to everyone that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God.” In 1881, the book had the compliment of being banned by the commonwealth of Massachusetts on charges of immorality.
Whitman was at most a Deist who scorned religion (see several samples of his views below). D. 1892.