The nests of social weaver birds are believed to be the largest birds’ nests in the world. Other than providing a hiding place from predators, the gigantic communal nests are also said to be perfect for protecting the birds from desert’s harsh climate. Living in the plains of Namibia and South Africa, social weavers make use of several different materials, building the nest by weaving in twig after twig. These nests are perhaps the most spectacular structure built by any bird.
In Animal Architecture, a new book from Abrams, nature photographer Ingo Arndt explores marvels of nature with spectacular imagery, showcasing the complex and elegant structures that animals create both for shelter and for capturing prey. Arndt’s photographs display wonders such as the colourful mating arenas of bowerbirds in West Papua and the fantastic nests created by ants in Africa.
Igor Siwanowicz believes that small insects are underrated. As a child he spent hours hunting for spiders and beetles with a microscope. Now as a scientist the world of tiny creatures fascinates him even more. After playing around with a micro photography kit as a hobby, Igor has gone on to become an award-winning insect photographer bringing the world of creepy crawlies to life with brilliant use of close-up techniques.
French photographer Thomas Subtil in his series “hakuna matata” – a Swahili phrase which means “no worries” – takes animals native to Africa and anthropomorphizes them, revealing us the secret lives of wild animals. The unusual snaps were made from photographs Subtil took whilst visiting Kenya. He later edited them to make them a little more unusual and surreal. We’ve never seen animals do this before… perhaps they only do it when nobody is around?
Lake Natron takes its name from natron, a naturally occurring compound made mainly of sodium carbonate, with a bit of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) thrown in. Here, this has come from volcanic ash, accumulated from the Great Rift valley. Animals that become immersed in the water die and are calcified.
Photographer Nick Brandt, while in Tanzania, discovered perfectly preserved birds and bats on the shoreline. “I could not help but photograph them,” he says. “No one knows for certain exactly how they die, but it appears that the extreme reflective nature of the lake’s surface confuses them, and like birds crashing into plate glass windows, they crash into the lake.”
Wild horses of the Netherlands, red-crowned cranes dancing in the snow, the plight of a tortured chimpanzee and a polar panorama feature in the collection of wildlife images in the book published by the Natural History Museum.
The captive primates in Anne Berry‘s photographs don’t look too happy, but she’s not advocating against zoos.
“I think zoos are doing a better and better job of keeping animals and replicating habitats that don’t exist in the wild anymore,” Berry said. “It’s not the best that you’d like, but it’s keeping species alive.”
The stoves in these deserted houses are now cold, but their rooms have attracted new inhabitants from the nearby woods.
An ambiguous atmosphere reigns in the houses. The melancholic spirits of the last residents linger in the structures and abandoned household items even though the living quarters have been taken over by new noises: a rustle in the corner, quiet footsteps under the floorboards. Squeaks, shadows and rapid movement. Mice, squirrels, foxes and badgers as well as numerous species of birds live in nooks and crannies. Nature is reclaiming what it only gave away for a loan.
By recording some of the last visitors to these houses falling into decay, Heikki Willamo and Kai Fagerström have managed to create a magical and fabulous pictorial world.
A funny collection of vintage photos of animals acting like people.
(All photos courtesy of Getty Images)