Beautifully Preserved Bird Nests From the 20th Century

Nature is filled with such fascinating animals that create everything from magnificently designed spiderwebs to mystifying cocoons. In particular, San Francisco-based photographer Sharon Beals is interested in birds and how they build their nests. Over the course of two centuries, egg and nest specimens have been collected and preserved and many of the samples featured here are specifically from the Cornell Museum of Vertebrates.

In her series, entitled Bird Nests, Beals documents the preserved artifacts which visually demonstrate the resourcefulness of birds who transform sticks, twigs, human and animal hair, moss, lichen, feathers, mud, and found human objects into snug little homes. By isolating the constructions on a rich black background, the artist invites her viewers to explore the intricate design of each structure. In addition to the nests, many unhatched eggs have been preserved, evoking a sympathetic sense of loss for those birds who were not meant to be a part of this world.

Beals says, “Survival for so many birds is tenuous in a modern world where habitat loss is as common as the next housing development, and even subtle changes in climate can affect food supply. It is my hope that capturing the detailed art form of the nests in these photographs will gain appreciation for their builders, and inspire their protection.”
















Sharon Beals' website
via [PDN Photo of the Day]

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