Ornithological Epicenter

There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.

– Charles Darwin, Origin of Species, 1859

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology has long been a leading presence in the study, appreciation and conservation of birds. From citizen science programs, to eBird, to research collaboration with the the National Geographic Society, the Lab has helped to educate the public about the environmental importance of birds. The Wall of Birds, titled “From So Simple a Beginning,” from the Darwin quote above, celebrates the world of birds, showcasing biodiversity and evolutionary change, by featuring species from all surviving bird families alongside several extinct ancestors.

The scale of the mural is mind-blowing! The world map covers the largest wall of the Lab’s visitor center, with life-sized birds from each of the 243 taxonomic families of the world, placed in their geographical endemic locations. Check out the scale of the flying albatross in the lower left of the mural! The pale, gray scale depictions of the extinctions and ancestors adds to the complexity of the mural.

The website is equally amazing, with interactive features that include bird call recordings from the Macaulay Library collection, an observation map, and info about the bird itself and it’s taxonomic family.

Click on the mural image above to go to the Wall of Birds landing page, and the launch of the interactive feature… then click on any bird to begin exploring!

Jane Kim and Thayer Walker, co-founders of Ink Dwell, are the artists behind the execution of the mural. Click on the image above to view a video and more photos of their process.

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