Guards at the La Reforma jail near San Jose, Costa Rica caught this homing pigeon as it flew into the prison carrying a bag of cocaine and marijuana. Read the rest
You begin Gathering Sky as a bird. Move your cursor, and it follows. But as you guide it through the sky, slowly adding other birds to your aerial coterie, the nature of your relationship quickly changes: you have become a flock. You not any one bird, but all of them, moving together with the smooth prescience you often see as birds loop through the sky, making hairpin turns in an eerie unison.
Here, you're the guiding force behind those movements, as the flock glides over the beautiful painted landscapes of the world below. You can also guide them into wind currents, which feel a bit like sky expressways that zip you forward through the level. Although these channels of wind are visible, you can only see a short ways ahead as your flock barrels forward, so if you want to stay in the fast lane you need to anticipate and respond quickly to the twists and turns. It can feel a bit like you're swaying in the thrall of some larger momentum, just like the birds are swaying in yours.
Created by the small studio A Stranger Gravity, Gathering Sky takes only about an hour to play and there are five levels, each with its own challenges—hawk attack! thunderstorm!—and aesthetics, like the level where your birds start to cut through the clouds instead of over them, making colorful designs as the ground below peeks through the trails you leave behind. The score, composed by Dren McDonald and recorded at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, adds measurably to the experience, brightening the more cheerful moments and intensifying the tension the thunderstorm level, where you fly in near-darkness illuminated by lightning cracks. Read the rest
"Eagle was fine - she was massive, and used talons to 'punch' the drone out of the sky," writes the drone operator from Australia's Melbourne Aerial Video. Read the rest
The University of Maryland Robotics Center's new Robo Raven III V4 soars on larger flapping wings that "have flexible solar cells giving the vehicle an extra 10 Watts of power. This allows this robotic bird to fly longer and recharge outdoors." Read the rest
Amazon parrot singing sensation Princess Yellowfeather resides at the Birds on Safari store in Stuart, Florida. Read the rest
The Audubon Society received 9,000 entires for their annual photography contest and chose nine winners, including Mary Angela Luzader's Fine Art Honorable Mention for her shot of fighting Purple Gallinules, above.
She took her shot at Venetian Gardens, a public park in Leesburg, Florida:
Venetian Gardens is a wonderful place to photograph Purple Gallinules in a natural, parklike habitat. Someone called my attention to this pair chasing and fighting each other. I have never witnessed this behavior, and I was so excited I almost forgot to snap a few shots! When the fight was over, the victor got the girl, and the loser was chased away, with a few less feathers . . . and perhaps a headache!
The Top 100 is well worth the time if you admire birds and or beautiful photography.
• Announcing the 2015 Audubon Photography Awards (audubon.org)
This. Looping. Forever. Read the rest
I’m filled with wonder at the engineering and imagination needed to create the magical eye candy of pop-up books. Elaborate scenes come alive as I unfold each page. I’m always surprised the first time I open a pop-up book, but with Birdscapes more than my eyes were opened. There are bird songs and bird calls, tweets and warbles, sounds of nature from the Arctic Tundra to the Great Plains of North America – all in stereo from the back pages of this book!
Birdscapes presents seven intricate, delicate and very realistic pop-up bird habitats along with the sweet melodies of the birds that live there. Each soundscape is pared with text about ecosystems and bird species that’s easy to follow for the novice and specific enough for the expert. Spotted Owl, Western Meadowlark, Ruffed Grouse and even a Woodpecker are seen and heard. This is definitely one book filled with lots of oooh and aah moments.
Batteries are included in the book for long lasting listening pleasure. – Carole Rosner
A pelican knocked around by a storm near Tanzinia's Mahale Mountains was rescued and taught to fly again. Here's beautiful "beak-cam" footage of the soaring bird. (No, GoPro didn't pay us to post this clip.) (Thanks, Bob Pescovitz!) Read the rest