Keep looking up. Sulawesi wrinkled hornbill, Bronx Zoo.
Get ready, this is a long one 📝...
“What the hell is it about these birds?” I’ve often asked myself. Is it their lavish eyelashes? Is it that bold color coordination? Is it those elaborate, textured casques that kind of remind me of one of my favorite dinos, the corythosaurus? (Side note: #birdsaredinosaurs, and the “horn” of hornbills is thought by scientists to serve these possible functions: an indicator of maturity, an acoustic resonating chamber to help males project their territorial calls, and for some species of hornbill, it may serve as as an aerial headbutting weapon 💥 and/or help the bird use its bill as a hammer.) There are just so many things I love about these birds, and I wanted to learn more. But words failed me so I googled simply “why hornbills” 😂 and serendipitously a very beautiful blog post entitled “The Splendid and Remarkable Anatomy of Hornbills” by @scientific_american was the first result. It pretty much encapsulated my wonder at these charismatic creatures, known as the “farmers of the forest.” Like many animals, there is so much we just don’t know about them (like: How the hell are they so well dispersed in the Asian-Pacific Islands? How did they manage to fly THAT far?!). They are very elusive in the wild, and very few studies have been done about them. And, like many animals, their habitat is shrinking by the day, and it feels like such a damn shame, and it makes me cherish the few minutes I got to be in this guy’s presence even if he had elevator eyes and he and his mate seemed a bit too interested in me, if you catch my drift. ANYWAY this has all just been to say that moments like these make me really love photography because it’s such an effective tool for observation and connection and understanding, even if it’s with a completely different species.
TLDR; there’s really so much to be grateful for and I wish as a species that we could show that better. (And also I probably should’ve just made this a blog post.) #thepursuitofscience #WildlifeWednesday