Photographer Leila Jeffreys (previously) captures birds outside of their traditional context, taking various breeds into her studio to photograph without distraction. The simple portraits capture the elegance of each bird, bringing a new perspective to the brilliant colors and textures that belong to each cockatoo, dove, or other domestic or exotic species. The works appear as both an unbiased attempts at documenting a set of animals, and a warm depiction of the feathery subjects. Each gives a peek into the personality of the bird on view, with a few casting solemn expressions, and one cockatoo showcasing what appears to be a wry smile.
Jeffreys has an upcoming exhibition of her portraits titled Ornithurae Volume 1 at Olsen Gruin Gallery in New York City on October 13. The exhibition will run through November 12, 2017. You can see more of her photographs on her website and Instagram.
Artist Taiichiro Yoshida forms the delicate wings of birds and fluffy fur of mammals from a variety of sculpted metal flowers of bronze, copper, or silver. Decorative hot metalworking in Japan is considered an ancient technique, beginning sometime in the 2-3rd century BC. Yoshida achieves the fragile nature of each piece through smithing, where the hot metal is carefully beaten and then formed into blooms before being colored. You can see more of his work on Artsy. (via Cross Connect, Hi-Fructose)
The Flying Martha Ornithopter is a mechanical toy that when wound, flaps its wings through the air just like a real bird. The simple invention is built entirely from bamboo and Mulberry paper, and released just like a paper airplane. The ornithopter was built by Haptic Lab to honor the very last passenger pigeon, Martha, who died while in captivity at the Cincinnati Zoo in 1914.
Haptic Lab believes the invention is symbolic of humanity’s role in a rapidly changing world. “Like our other projects at Haptic Lab, the Flying Martha ornithopter aims to connect people to their physical environment, to one another, and to the planet as a whole,” says the design studio. “The Flying Martha celebrates the spirit of invention and discovery essential to humanity’s survival and to the survival of our planet.”
Each ornithopter is built to reflect the true size of the extinct bird, with a wingspan of 16 inches. The handmade nature of the toy bird allows its user to customize its flight, solving problems to discover the invention’s best flight path. By a slight twist of the tail to the left or right, its flight course is altered, giving the owner full control of how the bird flies.
Photographer Melanie Barboni is an assistant researcher at UCLA’s Earth, Planetary and Space Science Program where she installed a hummingbird feeder outside her office window in hopes of seeing the elusive birds and maybe snapping a photo. Two years and several feeders later, she estimates there are over 200 birds that now stop by her window every day, over 50 of which she’s bestowed with names because she can recognize them on sight. Barboni was raised in Switzerland where hummingbirds are practically non-existent and she only read about them in books. She likens the view from her office at UCLA as a dream come true, a place that she’s referred to as The Hummingbird Whisperer. (via Laughing Squid)
The winners of the 2017 Bird Photographer of the Year were recently announced, a competition that celebrates the best photographs of birds culled from thousands of submissions around the world. Now in its third year, the competition is a joint venture between Nature Photographers Ltd and the British Trust for Ornithology. This year’s winner was Alejandro Prieto Rojas for his photograph of flamingos feeding their offspring while nesting at Río Lagartos in Mexico. You can see a full gallery of winners here.
Youtuber WildWingsLA has a special birdbath setup specifically for hummingbirds outside their Beverly Hills home. Known for being territorial, it’s rare to see so many birds at once, but at times the frame fills with dozens of them. Fun fact: a group of a hummingbirds is called a charm. (via Laughing Squid)
Australian artist Andy Thomas (previously here and here) presents his first installment of Visual Sounds of the Amazon, a responsive artwork that alters its visual shape based on audio Thomas collected from the Amazon rainforest. The animation sequence is one that can hardly be described, as bright bursts of light escape a tangle of blue and yellow helixes each time a bird squeaks, with similarly colored balls orbiting the digitally-composed mass.
Previously Thomas has made responsive artworks to other flora and fauna, specifically using recordings created in Australia and the Netherlands. This particular iteration will be screened at Render, a festival of animated hybridizations in Lima, Peru. You can view/listen to more of his otherworldly and adaptive video work on his website.
When first engaging with these crocheted bird suits by artist Laurel Roth Hope it’s not without a bit of whimsy and an immediately appreciation for her skill with yarn and needle. The colorful one-of-a-kind sweaters are each designed to fit a standard urban pigeon, complete with a hood retrofitted with eye and beak holes. While the project isn’t without a bit of humor, its warning is particularly dire: each suit represents an extinct bird species and highlights the futility of restoring lost biodiversity. The works are purposely displayed on hand-carved pigeon mannequins to suggest that animals we most abhor are often the ones most capable of thriving within a human-made environment.
Hope has worked as a natural-resource conservator and park ranger, both of which have deeply influenced her artwork that explores themes of environmental harm, extinction, and consumerism. You can see many more of her Biodiversity Reclamation Suits in this gallery.