As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Friday, 18 December 2015

Cornell's Enormous New Mural Depicts Every Living Bird Family

Artist Jane Kim spent 16 months drawing 270 birds in exquisite, larger-than-life detail.
December 11, 2015

If there was ever a Sistine Chapel for worshipping birds, it would be the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Based in Ithaca, New York, the sleek wood-and-steel structure houses labs for 250 professors and students, sound recordings of more than 165,000 birds and beasts, and a glass observatory where visitors can peek through scopes into the Sapsucker Woods to spot real-life birds.

Now, this avian Vatican also has its own Michelangelo: This week San Francisco artist Jane Kim put the finishing touches on her 40-foot-tall, 70-foot-wide mural of every living family of bird in the world.The 34-year-old illustrator, who runs a studio called Ink Dwell with her business partner Thayer Walker, spent 16 months on the project—weekends included. “I haven’t really had a life since this began,” Kim says. “This was more passion-driven than practicality-driven.”

With only the aid of a scissor-lift and the occasional assistant, Kim hand-painted 270 birds onto shadows of all the continents—the birds' locations are set near their evolutionary birth places. The Saddle-billed Stork, for instance, has one foot planted firmly in southwest Africa, while the Great Spotted Kiwi squats down in New Zealand. 

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