Nest: The Art of Birds

Nest: The Art of Birds

Janine Burke

Language: English

Pages: 184

ISBN: 1742378293

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Part natural history, part folklore, part exploration of art and aesthetics, part memoir, a beautiful book that will appeal to bird lovers, readers of literature, and art lovers

As an amateur naturalist and nature lover, Janine Burke, art historian and author, has spent many years observing birds. Here is the story of her passion, a personal, wide-ranging, and intimate book that will appeal to all those who love nature, literature, and art. What are nests if not art created by nature? If a nest is not art, how can we account for those exquisite, painstakingly, constructed creations that are decorated, or woven through with feathers, or studded with objects of a particular color or sheen? This book reveals both the art and mystery found in nature and celebrates them with lyricism, insight, and great affection. In the tradition of Longitude, Cod, or The Cello Suites, this memoir is also a short education that encompasses celebration and theory, investigation and memoir, the familiar and the revelatory—as surprising and enticing as any beautiful, intricately constructed nest.

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himself to taxidermy, travel, wild animals and the construction of increasingly elaborate dioramas. His effort for New York’s American Museum of Natural History remains on display. In 1921, Akeley went to the Congo to hunt gorillas destined for a diorama but, humbled by his encounter with the great apes on Mount Mikeno in the Virunga range, he became a conservationist, committed to preserving the gorillas in their habitat rather than in a museum. The Birds of Australia was a great success but it

of a shambles like the silver gulls’ nests I saw on Cockatoo Island. But the females make a sturdy yet supple—and by no means inelegant—arrangement of grasses woven with fine twigs. The males help with feeding the young, and during the breeding season sing at evening, an intense, melodious, captivating song. Sitting at my desk, early in spring, I can hear the blackbird as night falls and work ends for the day, his song accompanying me, counterpointing my domestic rhythms as I switch off the

the size of a turkey, covered with feathers and sporting feathered wings. The conceit of the film, and Michael Crichton’s novel on which it was based, is that fossilised DNA can be resequenced and cloned: the past can be brought back to life. The prehistoric bird Archaeopteryx (meaning ‘ancient wing’) is 150 million years old. In The Life of Birds, David Attenborough takes us to the limestone quarry in the Bavarian region of southern Germany where Archaeopteryx was unearthed in 1877. The quarry

major work, which was published two years later. In Italy, the Shelleys lived an itinerant existence and were part of cultured expatriate communities. Though both were productive, Mary was despondent, owing to the death of three infants and Shelley’s proclivity for flirting with women close to her. In 1820, hearing of Keats’ deteriorating health, Shelley invited him to stay at the Shelleys’ residence at Pisa. Keats needed to escape another English winter. He was touched by Percy’s offer,

cutter bar had just gone champing over/(Miraculously without tasting flesh)’. The child—I’m guessing it’s a girl—wants to restore the nest to its former hiding place and her father seeks to help. Frost, a knowledgeable observer of nature, wonders if the mother bird will care for the chicks after such a change of scene. Might human meddling make the female abandon the nest? Not to disappoint his child, Frost aids her in building a screen and giving the nestlings back their protection and shade.

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