Through sexual selection — survival of the flirtatious — birds have evolved colorful plumes that charm potential mates. Feathers serve birds in numerous ways, but it is through courtship that birds have acquired their rainbow of colors.
In Flirtatious Feathers: A Colorful Collection of Bird Photographs from the Academy’s Visual Resources for Ornithology, the digital picture book story the Academy contributed to Google Arts and Culture,
amazing photographs from the Academy’s VIREO collection illustrate how birds use their feathers in mating rituals.
Photographs from VIREO, the Academy’s worldwide bird photography collection, have been instrumental in global conservation campaigns, bringing birds to life for all to see. With more than 180,000 photographs representing over 7,300 species — 70 % of the world’s bird species — VIREO is the world’s most comprehensive collection of ornithological images.
More than 700 photographers from around the world have contributed to VIREO. The popular birding apps, BirdsEye and the Audubon Guides bird series, are filled with VIREO images and help inspire a new generation of naturalists to discover our planet’s amazing birds.
Here are some images from the VIREO collection and the story about the role of feathers in natural selection. Click on Flirtatious Feathers: A Colorful Collection of Bird Photographs from the Academy’s Visual Resources for Ornithology to enjoy the full experience.
By Carolyn Belardo
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