Birds & Words #10

New ancient bird species, the reviving art of falconry, bird mural, and more.

Elephant birds were nocturnal and blind
The giant ‘elephant bird’ that roamed Madagascar’s forests until 300 years ago was probably more of a night-time creature. And like its New Zealand cousin, the kiwi, it couldn’t see and had a keen sense of smell.

Of sheikhs and falcons
How the captive breeding of falcons by U.A.E. royalty and the sport of falconry together might save these fast and furious birds from going extinct.

Fossil suggests what an early bird was like
A fossil that remained in a private collection before it was bought off by a palaeontologist has turned out to be a new species of Archaeopteryx. Some of its well-preserved bones are hollow, meaning that the primitive bird could fly.

Where bird was the word
People of the Aleutian Islands looked to birds for everything – food, clothing, accessories. Birds were a part of their rituals and customs, and remained integral to the indigenous community for thousands of years.

Sci–Art collaborations
A short interview with Jane Kim, the artist behind Cornell’s famous Wall of Birds, a 2,500-sq-ft mural illustrating all 243 families of modern birds. Kim has a new book out featuring her art and the story of bird evolution. And it has a hornbill on its cover.

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[Pictured is a fossil of Archaeopteryx housed at NHM, London.]