Friday, July 10, 2009

What is...

I looked through the pictures of this post, and realized the true stories behind the images are sometimes deceiving.  A small google search using the words "emotion" and "birds" took me to the work of John Gould, Thomas Bewick and John James Audubon, all well known for their studies of birds in nature.  This article about Gould highlights his response to Bewick and Audubon.  Gould leaned more to Bewick's version of domestic bliss, rather than to Audubon's more violent depictions.  He did acknowledge the validity of Audubon's approach with less sugar-coated backgrounds in some of his pictures, but even here, "ascribed [any obvious violence] to an excess of nurturing and love.

Interestingly, my little search also took me to an article about the Simpsons, and this quote:
 The "What is" is the actual maddening complexity of human nature filled with greed, insolence, power-struggle, jealousy and pettiness. According to Bruce, and the best The Simpsons have to offer, by ignoring the imperfections and fears of our world and replacing them with rose-colored fallacies we create the framework for disappointment and disillusionment. "There is only what is," scoffed Bruce in 1964. "The what-should-be never did exist, but people keep trying to live up to it. 
With some of those thoughts in mind, here are some photos taken over the past couple of days.

MIne, all mine.
I am the king of the castle and I will steal whatever is owed to me.
I can fly! 
What are you looking at?
You with the camera.  Do you have anything for me?
Where are you, Papa?  I need food.  Now! 
  Contentment for some, but others plot....

I itch.  O man, I itch!
Look at me.  I rock! 
You come down from there right now!
All right.  I'll go get my own food.
I want up there too.
Hard work, this!  I'll try another route.
I give up.  This spot is not perfect, but it will have to do.

On the way home, I stopped at Stanley and Stella's tree at the heronry.  This youngster is learning to branch hop, a second step in learning to fly.  (Step one is staying on one branch and flapping the wings.)

Taking off.
Fly to the branch above.
The landing.
Another youngster negotiating a landing.
Oh no.  Papa's arriving.  Better get back to the nest and grab the food first!
Papa flies in, his mouth full.
Man, those kids are getting big and all they do is squawk and fight.  
 This parenting stuff is for the birds!  Think I'll just drop it off and run.

The same day, later in the evening at Jericho.
I am a kingfisher and I am hungry!  
I am hungrier!  I will steal the fish from the fishermen at this dock, and from you the kingfisher too!
The lady on the dock is hungry too.  She wants to catch and hold on to the light.
Light, schmight.  I'm the hungriest of all.
Look at us.  Just add light, a few shadows, and we make even this ugly garage wall beautiful.
Home, sweet home.
I will not look at your camera.  I repeat, I will not look at your camera.
*I may be the world's worst caption writer, so feel free to add suggestions.  Thanks for reading!


  1. Oh so nice photos, I noticed you love taking photos of birds...I been trying to take photos of it but really hard to get an opportunity.

    Is that Scott on the last photo?

    Take care.


  2. Thanks, Al. No, that is Black Jack in the last picture. She is only 12 pounds, and Scott was 70 pounds, but in that picture, she really looks like him.

  3. Those captions are so apt. You have an amazing ability to hear the conversation of those animals. It just sounds like gibberish to my ears so I appreciate your translations :)

    Thanks for the link to The Simpsons article. They say that Homer Simpson (unknowingly) speaks words of wisdom. He once said "Weaseling out of things is important to learn. It's what separates us from the animals, except the weasel." I'm still trying to figure that one out :)