When David Guttenfelder showed us the pictures he shot for “Last Song for Migrating Birds,” a story about how poachers coat tree branches with glue to trap migrating songbirds, I was horrified.
Who would want to eat a sweet little oriole? And how could there possibly be enough meat to make the effort worthwhile? It would be one thing if people need the birds to subsist, but that’s mostly not the case. These birds are considered delicacies that people pay a lot of money for.
So when David projected this image of a man with the wing of a blackcap in his lips, I braced myself for a gruesome story about how the man ate the bird live. Instead, David told us, the man was actually a conservationist sucking the sticky sap from the wings of a bird that had been stuck in a glue trap.
Hugh Turvey’s Xograms. You’re looking at an elephant skull and an elephant mandible.
“You can learn a lot from streetlights…These days, city planners are moving to sodium vapor, which glows slightly orange, so from outer space the colors tell you which part of town is new, and which old.”
“Once its victim was sufficiently weak, the Yara-ma-yha-who would ingest them whole, resting for awhile before regurgitating the person (still alive) and beginning the whole process again. With each regurgitation, the victim would return slightly shorter and a little bit redder in tone, finally becoming another Yara-ma-yha-who.”
Mermaid illustration obtained by Blomhoff, late Edo period (artist unknown)
Reports of mermaid encounters were not uncommon in 19th-century Japan, and a number of illustrated documents from that period - including a few by notable natural historians - depict some fantastic specimens rarely seen in today’s world.
This mermaid illustration from the National Museum of Ethnology (Leiden, Netherlands) was obtained by Dutch trader Jan Cock Blomhoff, who served as director of the Dejima trading post in Nagasaki from 1817 to 1824. The drawing appears to show a different mermaid than Blomhoff’s famous mummified specimen, which is also owned by the museum.
“I became the man who wore a sanitary pad.”