For the Birds
Any present-day ornithologist will tell you that our feathered friends that share the planet with us have a broad impact on our daily lives. Whether it be for their products such as eggs or feathers, or their ability to control certain insect pests, or their arrivals and departures signaling seasonal and climate changes, birds are an important part of our world.
Famous ornithologists of the past, such as Alexander Wilson, John James Audubon and John Gould, were not only interested in the scientific study of birds, they were also drawn to their beauty and aesthetic qualities. Each of them was a brilliant artist who created lavish volumes cataloging and illustrating the different species.
Birds are a source of fascination even for those of us without scientific or artistic backgrounds and agendas. Birdwatching organizations and publications have enjoyed increased popularity among people for whom observing birds ranges from a recreational activity to a serious and sometimes competitive pursuit.
To watch a bird in flight, on the hunt, tending its young, or at rest, is to understand why these free spirits appear as symbols in so many cultures, for so many different qualities, and why they are so universally admired. Who among us hasn’t looked at the sky and wished we could fly like a bird?
One thing is certain, artistic images of birds are as plentiful and varied as the creatures themselves. They appear as motifs on just about anything you can print with a design, and paintings of birds make a wonderful addition to any home, bringing a little bit of nature indoors. What’s your favorite bird and why?
Brian Sylvester is a guest blogger on WallSpin, and an artist on Zatista.
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