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martin harvey photographs huge flocks of flamingos - up to 1.5 million - conforming to the shoreline of lake borgoria in kenya, which they do in order to enclose and feed on the abundant blue green algae which thrive in the lake’s warm alkaline waters.

"despite their apparent large numbers, flamingo are a threatened species due to their very specific feeding and breeding requirements," harvey notes. "as conservationists, we can only try to get people aware of this truly incredible species and hope to put pressure on governments to protect their habitat."  video

Right, so, just to reiterate, THESE ARE FLAMINGOS.

Makes a nice antidote to the amazing, thoughts-of-your-own-mortality-inducing desiccated bird photos that have been making the rounds lately.


Deadly lake turns animals into statues

According to Dante, the Styx is not just a river but a vast, deathly swamp filling the entire fifth circle of hell. Perhaps the staff of New Scientist will see it when our time comes but, until then, Lake Natron in northern Tanzania does a pretty good job of illustrating Dante’s vision.

Unless you are an alkaline tilapia (Alcolapia alcalica) – an extremophile fish adapted to the harsh conditions – it is not the best place to live. Temperatures in the lake can reach 60 °C, and its alkalinity is between pH 9 and pH 10.5.

The lake takes its name from natron, a naturally occurring compound made mainly of sodium carbonate, with a bit of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) thrown in. Here, this has come from volcanic ash, accumulated from the Great Rift valley. Animals that become immersed in the water die and are calcified.

Photographer Nick Brandt, who has a long association with east Africa – he directed the video for Michael Jackson’s Earth Song there in 1995 – took a detour from his usual work when he discovered perfectly preserved birds and bats on the shoreline. “I could not help but photograph them,” he says. “No one knows for certain exactly how they die, but it appears that the extreme reflective nature of the lake’s surface confuses them, and like birds crashing into plate glass windows, they crash into the lake.”

When salt islands form in the lake, lesser flamingos take the opportunity to nest – but it is a risky business, as this calcified bird (top) illustrates. The animals are all arranged in poses by the photographer. Above, on the right we have a sea eagle and on the left a dove, in what is surely the most horrific depiction of the “bird of peace” since Picasso’s Guernica.

Brandt’s new collection of photos featuring animals in east Africa, Across the Ravaged Land, is published by Abrams Books.”

(Source: New Scientist)


(via science-junkie)


Before starlings roost, their maneuvers create mesmerizing aerial displays. To achieve synchronicity, each bird shadows seven of its nearest neighbors. EARTHFLIGHT: Europe on NATURE on PBS (check local listings) or watch the full episode of EARTHFLIGHT online. 

(via pbstv)


Rudolf Kalvach, Postcard Inspiration, Wiener Werkstätte


Rudolf Kalvach, Postcard Inspiration, Wiener Werkstätte



We’re loving the honest simplicity of these pieces by Inuit folk artist Kenojuak Ashevak. Seemingly borrowed from another time, her confident use of color and composition is really refreshing. These pieces are from her Birds series, courtesy of 50watts.

Ashevak passed this January at the age of 85. For more information about her read on:

“One of the best known and most acclaimed Inuit artists of the last 50 years, Kenojuak Ashevak, is being remembered by many across Canada this week….Ashevak began contributing to the famed Cape Dorset print collections in 1959, and […] contributed to them every year since, right up until the fall 2012 release.” [continue reading at Canadian Art]

More about Kenojuak.  (Also, wouldn’t these make great tattoos?)


You didn’t have anything to do today, right?


Shoebill birds evolved from hell in the late Devonian period 3.2Mya

You probably shouldn’t mess with this guy either.


Shoebill birds evolved from hell in the late Devonian period 3.2Mya

You probably shouldn’t mess with this guy either.

(via tentaclegarden)


The Strange, Incredible Nests Of Weaver Birds


These massive, amorphous avian homes can support hundreds of birds at a time in their complex interior chambers and clusters, and, boy, are they impressive from the outside as well. The effect is somewhat otherworldly and—maybe this is just me?—kinda creepy, as the formations look like they are, or could be, super strange and sentient creatures living off our power grid. 

Read the full story here.




Kookaburras, baby!  Circa 1900.
(Do they know their little heads are too big for their little bodies?)


Kookaburras, baby!  Circa 1900.

(Do they know their little heads are too big for their little bodies?)