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May 12, 2006

The bird meme

Coturnix has tagged me with the bird meme: Pick your ten favorite birds. I'll tell you right now, his list is way better than mine because he substantiates his choices with, like, reasons and stuff. Whereas, I'm just going to post some of my favorite photos of cute birds because it's Friday!

My list of highly-preferred birds would not be complete without a link to the birth of hummingbirds site. (Thanks to Cassandra, Suzi, and Linda for sending me the link.)

I'm tagging Revere.

Photo credits: African grey parrot, Thaddeus Miller; crow, Lisa Maria; burrowing owl, Hearman; Annas hummingbird, Camden Hackworth; lilac-breasted roller, Shacky.

Hat tip to commenter cfrost for identifying the roller.


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Ah, those are so cute!

Thanks, C. When I get home, I'm going to add a few more to bring it up to the full 10 birds

The pretty bird would be your lilac-breasted roller - Coracias caudata.

Wait a second, several of those birds seem to be Photoshopped or at least seriously altered with computer graphics. The last one and the one in flight with the red head. Especially that one. It's so altered to be almost cartoonish.

Amusingly enough, your photo of burrowing owls has now got me wanting to listen to Stuart by The Dead Milkmen.

"Jumping Jesus on a pogo stick. Everybody knows that a burrow owl lives in a hole
in the ground
Why in the hell do you think they call it a burrow owl, anyway?"

Summerisle, I like these pictures as art, and I love the subjects that inspired them. If these images have been altered by computer graphics, that's okay by me.

You can click through and ask the creators what kind of processing they've done on their images. I don't know any of these photographers personally. They're fellow Flickr users whose work I admire. These people aren't publishing their work as news footage or as part of the scientific record. The default assumption for Flickr-fiends is that aesthetics come first and that digital manipulation in the service of aesthetics is acceptable.

Thanks for raising this subject.

If anyone would like to see the full list of responses, you can find that at my blog, here.

Summerisle, the Anna's hummer and the roller look natural enough to me. What is it that looks cartoonish to you?

I'm guessing the roller is in an aviary, because of the plant in the background, what certain landscapers artound here call "vomit bush" because it's cheap and sturdy and a typical bush the landlord puts outside the door and you barf into it when you stagger home drunk. And the spots make it harder to tell.

The hummer would look that way if the camera isn't quite fast enough to get the wings as anything other than a blur, which would be most cameras. Hummers in general are pretty bold, and will fly up in your face to see what that camera thing is. The head feathers on a male are reflective enough that if the sun's behind you and the bird's in front, you can get an afterimage in your eyes like what a flashbulb leaves.

Me, I like swallow-tailed kite.

One of my most vivid memories from childhood (being about 2) was being terrified by a hummingbird. However, family reports suggest that I was not frightened by gila monsters, snakes or large dogs.

Jeez, Lindsay. I'm not sure I ven know the names of ten birds. I'll go to the library and put it up tomorrow morning.

"People trying to describe hummingbirds always find themselves stuck with the phrase "living jewels." Rather than succumb to unoriginality, I proffer the alternate descriptions--they're like hyperactive Jolly Ranchers with wings. They are small oil-slick-rainbows with eyes. They're what would happen if you asked Salvador Dali to design a rhinoceros. Screw it, they're like hummingbirds. There's nothing else quite like 'em. They are also completely insane, being size sixteen spirits stuffed into size .0005 bodies. A hummingbird, in its own mind, is ten stories tall with grenade launchers and gunports. A hummingbird knows, down in the hollow toothpicks of its bones, that it can kick your ass."

From those I've seen personally:

1. Roadrunner
2. Ruby-throated hummingbird
3. Great Egret
4. Eastern screech-owl
5. Baltimore oriole
6. Indigo bunting
7. Green-winged teal duck
8. Canada goose
9. Eastern meadowlark
10. Red-tailed hawk

Who took the pic of the immature Barn Owls?

A few wild bird experiences I enjoyed: The Harpy Eagle, Black-Crowned Night Heron, Red and Green Macaw, Little Green Heron, Barred Owl, Belted Kingfisher, Red-Bellied Woodpecker, Ruby-Throated Hummingbird, Chestnut-Sided Warbler, and Northern Cardinal.

What a wonderful meme/thread, thank you.

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