Friday, October 30, 2015

6 Spooky Bird gifs for your Halloween

Think of a creature spookier than a bird. It can't be done, right? Well, directors of horror and suspense have known this for a long time. Images of birds in film are often a stand in for death, doom, and despair. Today we bring you 6 fiendish examples to chill your blood on this, the spookiest of holidays. Use em' on your facebook or play em' at your halloween party. Whatever, I'm not gonna tell you how to live your life.

No discussion of cinematic bird scares would be complete without The Birds. This is probably the only time a movie has actually made people fear our feathered friends, and you can see why in this climactic final attack scene.

I also love this scene from True Detective, in which a mysterious murmuration mystifies Matthew Mcconaughey. Is it a hallucinatory flashback or a sign of potentially supernatural involvement?

Crows and ravens usually get the lions share of the horror bird imagery. Even in otherwise upbeat kids cartoon, We're Back, crows straight up vanish a guy.
A crow is also employed in the one actually scare-ifying scene in the otherwise hilarious Wicker Man remake, starring personal hero Nicholas Cage. Hmm.. maybe one day I'll try and write a blog about all the times he's interacted with birds in film. I hope it's more than just this once.

Of course birds are not always used effectively in horror. Who can forget the time Jaden Smith fought a giant bird in After Earth? Oh please let me forget.

And we end where we started, with a movie that has become synonymous with bird attacks, Birdemic: Shock and Terror. If you haven't seen this movie and have any love for awful film, you should probably go watch it now. These birds also have the capacity to explode, FYI. I think we'll leave it there for this week blog fans. Stay safe out there blog fans, and may all your costumes involve birds.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

African Goose

African Goose
Kennedy Park, Napa, California, USA
October 2015
Member of the Ducks, Geese, and Swans Family
§A Gaggle of Geese§

~true bird fact~  This bird is a domestic form of the Swan Goose, a bird that is actually not native to Africa, but rather Russia, China, and Kazakhstan. In his native countries, he is listed as vulnerable due to habitat loss and excessive hunting. Every year around 60,000 birds come to breed around the lower Yangtze River area, which may be nearly the entire wild population.

As this is a domestic bird, we get to return to one of my personal favorite features,

Bird Reviews (brought to you by maybe they'll pay me some day if I keep mentioning them)

Rated #10 in Geese, with a 67% positive rating.

"She follows me around, jumps in my lap, gives me goose kisses"

"They are very intimidating to predators. They scared away a raccoon"

"hates everyone that isn't me"

"I always wanted an attack goose now I have one!"

"I must say when I first saw these geese in person I instantly fell in love with them"

"they bite everyone and everything"
"don't take too kindly to visitors"

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Birds in Motion (by the Ocean)

Going with a much more picture heavy format today, amateurnitholofans. You see, I have all these birds pictures that I like, that don't really fall into the categories I've established for this blog. They're not really good enough to be portraiture, or I've already explored the bird in question. However, I think a lot of these are really great moments worth sharing. Today they all share a theme of exploring the ways in which birds move. All photos taken in Santa Cruz, California, USA in September of 2015.

Brown Pelican Quatrych (surveying, diving, takeoff, rising)

Brewers Blackbird- fix up, look sharp

Elegant Tern - hate to see you leave

Sooty Shearwater -  going someplace

Whimbrel - beak uses

Black Turnstone- bad water, good water

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Eurasian Collared-Dove

Eurasian Collared Dove
Natural Bridges State Beach, Santa Cruz, California, USA
September 2015
Member of the Dove and Pigeon Family
§A Dole of Doves§

{Etymology Corner} Well, it's a dove native to Eurasian and it has this collar, so it appears to be case closed. Not so fast, gentle blog reader, there's more. We're finally delving (perhaps inadvisably) into the world of scientific names for this one. Streptopeleia decaocto is her name, and there are some interesting notes here. The first part, Stepto-whatever is just Latin for "Collared Dove". However, Decaocto is a name of Greek Mythological origin. She was a servant girl whose life was so terrible that the gods turned her into a dove so she could fly away from her whole existence. Thanks gods. It is said that this Dove's mournful cry is her weeping (you know the cry, you confuse it for an owl). Wikipedia disagrees, however, stating that Decaocto was chosen because it is phonologically similar to the coo-COO-coo cry. Uhhh... nice try, but I'm going to stick with the myth.

~true bird fact~ This bird, as you may have gathered from the name, is not a native species. It came to the US through the Bahamas after a pet store was robbed in the 80's and some of the birds escaped (of course a pet store in the Bahamas was robbed in the 80's). By 1982 the bird was spotted in Florida, and, spreading quickly, it was all the way in California by 2001. Now the bird is nearly everywhere in the states, some heading as far north as Alaska. The theory is that the Collared Dove was able to expand her range so quickly because she is filling a biological niche left by the extinction of the Carrier Pigeon. I, for one, am really proud of the Collared Dove and take a pro Collared Dove stance. Sometimes you just come upon a bird with a real interesting narrative. Or even two in this case. It's always a nice surprise.