Painting The Sky

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Painting the Sky
A brilliant blur as it plucks a butterfly from the air, the European bee-eater, Merops apiaster, leads a colorful life on three continents.
Image: Jözsef L. Szentpéteri/National Geographic [larger view].

My contact, an editor at National Geographic, just sent me a link to a story and photoessay that details the courtship and breeding of European Bee-eaters, Merops apiaster. The story is fascinating and well-worth reading and the photographs, as always for National Geographic, brings tears of wonder to one’s eyes.


About GrrlScientist

grrlscientist is the pseudonym of an evolutionary biologist and ornithologist who writes about evolution, ethology, and ecology, especially in birds. After earning a degree in microbiology (thesis focus: virology) and working at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, she earned her PhD in zoology from the University of Washington in Seattle, where she studied the molecular correlates of testosterone and behaviour in white-crowned sparrows. She then worked a Chapman Postdoctoral Fellow at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, where she studied the speciation and distribution of lories and other parrots throughout the South Pacific Islands. A discarded scientist, she returned to her roots: writing. Formerly hosted by The Guardian (UK), she now writes about science for Forbes and for the non-profit think tank, the Evolution Institute and she writes podcasts for BirdNote Radio. An avid lifelong birder and aviculturist, she lives with a flock of songbirds and parrots somewhere in Germany.
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0 Responses to Painting The Sky

  1. bob levy says:

    My immediate reaction to this image was “OH!.” Remarkable work.

  2. Alan says:

    On rare occaisions they have at least attempted to nest here in the UK. I have never seen one over here, but they are very prominent birds in southern Europe – they like to perch on telephone wires when not wheling overhead in fair sized flocks

  3. Harlow Bielefeldt says:

    During a visit to the Forest at Fontainebleau in 2005, Didier, an accomodating French birder, was delighted to show me a colony of European Bee-eaters there. I have an indelible memory of these lovely birds. h

  4. sara says:

    Thanks for the links! Why are not the Bee-eaters afflicted by milkweed toxins?

  5. Bob O'H says:

    I’m so proud of myself. I didn’t recognize the bird, but I did identify the butterfly.