Bird of Paradise

April 25th, 2013 § 3 comments § permalink

I have mentioned before that one of my greatest inspirations for my fascination with animals was ignited by the Planet Earth documentary series. The “Jungles” episode had a segment about birds of paradise and behind the scenes footage with Tim Laman and Ed Scholes waiting for days to get a glimpse of a male courtship display. Their dedication to their dream of documenting all 39 species, and on the birds’ terms, is just incredibly beautiful to me.

Here is an introduction to the species prepared by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology:

Earlier this month, I finally got to hear them speak about their research at the Roy Thomson Hall as the finale for the National Geographic lecture series!!!

The notion that animals have culture is one that really intrigues me. In birds of paradise, we see sexual selection at its most heightened and particular. Female birds of paradise appreciate shape shifting dancing, loud calls and feathers in crazy forms and shimmery and fluorescent colours.  They expect a clean display ground and a regular vine a male bird uses to display and another for her to evaluate. As people we do not usually have to worry about being eaten or finding food, so we have a lot of time and other thoughts to occupy our minds with. Similarly, birds of paradise live in a situation where there are not many predators and fruit as their main diet is regularly available, so their energy is focused on being so pretttttttyyyy. I think it’s really cool that we also find these courtship displays stunning, like there is a recipe for what life on earth collectively perceives as beautiful.

Growing up I loved mythology, like mermaids, unicorns… all that! But when I saw these birds on the TV screen for the first time, I saw that we already live in such a mysterious and surprising world, only we can really seek it and it is more glorious and intricate than anything we could imagine. Ed Scholes and Tim Laman have a Bird of Paradise Project website, which introduces all 39 species of birds very thoroughly and is up to date with their future plans!

Tim Laman's handwriting!


April 18th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

I painted thank-you cards. One flap has a message and the other is a lil painting!



April 2nd, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink


Detail images below:

This is the third piece from the Replicators Series. As always, click images to see them enlarged!