Turacos, Trogons, woodpeckers, peafowl, nightjars, rollers and kingfishers… The birds of the world have had millions of years of natural selection with the ability to fly. Purple-crested turacos are common sightings in moist woodland and evergreen forests in Burundi, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Indian nightjars are found in NW India and adjoining parts of Pakistan, as well as Sri Lanka and S of the Himalayas in the low elevations E to Bangladesh, Myanmar and Vietnam. Indian peafowls are resident breeders across most of the Indian Subcontinent and and in many parts of N India are protected by religious practices and forage around villages and towns. Red avadavats are found in the open fields and grasslands of tropical Asia, breeding on the Indian Subcontinent during monsoons. Red-headed trogons are resident in subtropical and tropical moist lowland and montane forests in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Thailand, and Vietnam. Indian rollers are distributed from Middle East to the Indian Subcontinent where they are found N of the Vindhyas mountains. Oriental dwarf kingfishers are found in found in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam.
Spotted antbirds are found in the subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests of Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama; as well as Colombia and Ecuador.
Short-eared owls have one of the largest distributions of any bird with breeding populations in Europe, Asia, N and S America, the Caribbean, Hawaii, and the Galapagos Islands.
Malabar pied hornbills are relatively common in tropical S Asia distributed from India and Sri Lanka E all the way to Borneo, preferring evergreen and moist deciduous forests with fig trees. Narina trogons are hard to find throughout their wide distribution throughout Africa from Sierra Leone to Ethiopia, and from E Africa to E and S South Africa. Vigors’s sunbirds are endemic to the Western Ghats (India) and have been reported in the Nilgiris. Gulls are adaptable foragers that opportunistically feed on fish and marine or freshwater invertebrates, but will take insects, earthworms, rodents, eggs, carrion, offal, reptiles, amphibians, plant items such as seeds and fruit, human refuse, and even other birds. Southern double-collared sunbirds are endemic to the S parts of South Africa and prefer gardens, fynbos, forests and coastal scrub. Giant kingfishers are the largest kingfisher in Africa and are resident throughout SubSaharan Africa. White-bellied woodpeckers are found in the evergreen forests of tropical Asia from the Indian Subcontinent and SE Asia, and are separated into 14 subspecies. Nilgiri flycatchers have a very restricted distributional range in the hills of S India, preferring the higher altitude shola forests of the W Ghats and Nilgiris. African hoopoes (Upupa epops africana) are found in S and E africa, and are the most rufous of the nine subspecies. Crowded around an ancient, crumbling chapel, the rickety headstones in this old graveyard outside of Oaxaca can be difficult to walk between—especially during Day of the Dead celebrations. The roster of distinguished Americans interred here—Mary Baker Eddy, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and Winslow Homer, to name a few—is impressive, but this tranquil swath of rolling hills, majestic maple and oak trees, and formal gardens outside of Boston remains true to its mission to be a place for the living.
Some 12,000 tombstones, ranging from Gothic to rococo, are wedged into this city block–size graveyard that dates from the 15th century.
Tucked behind Sapanta’s Church of the Assumption, ornately carved oak crosses mark each of the countryside plot’s 900-plus graves; art and poetry tell quirky tales of the dead.
Near the French Quarter, a thousand aboveground vaults jam onto one square block, the 18th-century cemetery exploited in 1969’s Easy Rider. Hollywood Hills, overlooking top Tinseltown studios, serve as a resting place for its glitziest stars, from Bette Davis to Liberace. At this exclusive graveyard, visitors beeline to Eva Peron’s tomb (under her maiden name, Duarte).
Roaming this natural landscape—one of the few cemeteries that allows the planting of a tree or garden to commemorate the dearly departed—is like turning the pages of a Portland history book. From Louis Comfort Tiffany to Jean-Michel Basquiat, many of the names etched into the tombstones, granite monuments, and brownstone mausoleums here read like Page Six of the New York Post. Angels don’t need windows, but if they ever wanted to frame a great view, they might choose the North Rim’s Cape Royal (above) and its noble companion parapet in Arizona.
The mountain sprawls across the Alaska tundra like half a planet, gleaming white and broad shouldered. Grand Teton, the central crag of the Teton Range, scrapes the clouds nearly 7,000 feet above the Wyoming valley floor.
This landmark is the opposite of a high prominence, but to American immigrants in the late 1700s, it was an extremely important geographic feature. Whether, in the days of its use, anyone viewed the Bering Land Bridge as a landmark is doubtful. The heavens smiled down on Earth December 1 in National Geographic News's most viewed space photo of 2008.
People in Asia saw the smile while sky-watchers in the United States saw a frown, though we're sure it was nothing personal. Listen to your favorite National Geographic news daily, anytime, anywhere from your mobile phone. A veil of gauze protects a patient named Zahara from flies in a burn ward in Herat, Afghanistan. Moviegoers at Baghdad's first 4-D cinema get an extra thrill from shaking seats and wind machines during a 3-D sci-fi film. This brown rat's angry display at the photographer reflects 73 generations of breeding for hostility to humans. Dedicated keepers at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust's Nairobi Elephant Nursery in Kenya protect baby Shukuru from the cold and rain, and the risk of pneumonia, with a custom-made raincoat.
In a moss-draped rain forest in British Columbia, towering red cedars live a thousand years, and black bears are born with white fur. Sven Skaltje was saddened to find the carcasses of two female reindeer whose antlers had become entangled during a dominance struggle in northern Sweden.
Rule of the gun prevails in North Kivu, a conflict-ravaged province in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. A giant cave column swagged in flowstone towers over explorers swimming through the depths of Hang Ken, one of 20 new caves discovered last year in Vietnam. Just look at the prehistoric-looking shoebill of Africa… This unique bird settled in the swamps of central and East Africa where they patented the technique of smashing their bizarre bill and head through papyrus to catch small catfish. Baya weavers are found across S and SE Asia, and prefer grasslands, cultivated areas, scrub and secondary growth.
Crimson-backed sunbirds are endemic to the Western Ghats of India, and are attracted to gardens at the edge of the forest where people grow suitable flower bearing plants.


White-cheeked barbets are endemic to the forested areas of the Western Ghats and Shevaroy and Chitteri hills. Oriental dwarf kingfisher are widespread resident breeders in lowland forests and are found across much of the Indian Subcontinent and SE Asia, and are found in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Thailand. Crimson sunbirds are resident breeders in tropical S Asia from India to Indonesia, preferring secondary forest and cultivation. Northern or black crowned cranes are found in the Sahel and Sudan savanna region of Africa, from Senegal and Gambia on the Atlantic coast to the upper Nile River basin in Sudan and Ethiopia. African fish eagles are distributed throughout SubSaharan Africa wherever there is abundant fish stocks. Giant kingfishers are the largest kingfisher in Africa and are distributed along rivers, lagoons, coastlines and lakes throughout SubSaharan Africa. Tristram’s starlings are distributed across Israel, Jordan, NE Egypt (Sinai Peninsula), W Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Oman, preferring to nest on rocky cliff faces. Indian golden orioles are partially migratory and breed in India, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Nepal, preferring open deciduous forests, semi-evergreen forests, woodland, forest edge, mangroves, open country with scattered trees, parks, gardens orchards and plantations.
Rose-crowned fruit doves are distributed in lowland rainforests of E Australia and the monsoon forests of N Australia, Lesser Sunda Islands and Maluku Islands of Indonesia.
Nilgiri laughing thrushes are endemic to the high elevation areas of the Nilgiris and adjoining hill ranges in Peninsular India and are easily detected by its loud series of nasal call notes. Spotted owlets are resident breeders in tropical Asia from India to SE Asia, preferring farmland and human habitation where they have adapted to roosting in small groups in the hollows of trees or in cavities in rocks or buildings. Grey francolins are found in the open plains and drier regions of S Asia, preferring open cultivated lands and scrub forest. Oriental skylarks are found in the Indian Subcontinent and SE Asia, preferring open grasslands near waterbodies where seeds and insects are more abundant. Painted storks are distributed across tropical Asia S of the Himalayas in the Indian Subcontinent and extending into SE Asia, foraging in large flocks in shallow waters along rivers or lakes.
Common kingfishers are widely distributed across Eurasia and N Africa, migrating only from areas where rivers freeze in winter.
Oriental white eyes are resident breeder in the open woodlands of tropical Asia from the Indian Subcontinent to SE Asia, extending to Indonesia and Malaysia. They have conquered all terrestrial environments on earth and in the tropics and subtropics sexual selection has created a myriad of colors with extravagant tails, crests, wattles and bills. Thanks to the National Geographic Society for supporting this campaign and helping us build a community of people around wild birds. Get out there and take wild bird photographs for National Geographic’s “The Great Nature Project”! Simply include #greatnature #wildbird when posting new photos… Join the world in celebrating our natural heritage! Be the first to introduce your friends, family and colleagues to the freedom and splendor of birds in the wild! Advances in digital photography have given us the opportunity to capture the beauty and freedom of birds in the wild like never before. Drive through Sonoma Valley along Arnold Drive, lined with multicolored canopies of oak and maple. Headstones, crypts, and landscapes divulge clues into the spirit of a place and its people.
Revelers begin with a vigil the night of October 31, when the departed are feted with altars, candles, and marigold petals. Founded in 1831, it was the first landscaped expanse open to the public, ultimately leading to the birth of the U.S. Symbols adorn the graves, such as the lion etched on the tomb of Judah Loew Ben Bezalel, the chief rabbi of Prague in the 16th century who, according to legend, made a golem out of clay to protect the city’s Jewish community. Interred here: architect turned pirate Barthelemy Lafon and—rumors say—voodoo priestess Marie Laveau.
Many tombs are surprisingly staid (at nearby Glendale, Michael Jackson’s is hidden), but a venetian-glass mosaic ups the razzle-dazzle. Among large stone angels and carved mausoleums stands the heart-wrenching sculpture of a bride who died in an avalanche on her honeymoon.
Parisians jog on winding paths, groupies crusade to Jim Morrison’s grave, and admirers leave lipstick kisses on Oscar Wilde’s tomb, which features an Egyptian-style depiction of a man in flight. But the real attraction of this 478-acre oasis in Greenwood Heights is the parklike setting with glacial ponds, a Gothic Revival entrance gate circa 1861, and the Manhattan skyline peeking through the century-old trees. Thrust far above the immense luminous space of the canyon, this natural arch overlooks the big bend where the canyon turns west, carving ever deeper into the heart of the Kaibab Plateau. Mount Rainier, true to its name, disappears behind cloud banks, stays hidden for days and weeks at a time, and reappears in most dramatic fashion. Settlement of the bluegrass region of Kentucky was held up for decades by Native American tribes, who prized it as a hunting territory, and also by the physical barrier of the Cumberland mountains. Starting at Independence, Missouri, where wagon trains formed up so people could travel together, trundling toward the sunset at the pace of a walking ox, settlers entered a world more open than most could imagine: no trees, little water, and grass that grew thinner as the miles went by. From the relatively flat surrounding land, the treestump-like tower’s sides form smooth upward arcs, drawing our thoughts to the sky. Narrow canyons, room-size alcoves, little rounded peaks, streams you can step across, waterfalls and pools sized for a single person. It wasn’t a bridge at all but rather a 1,000-mile-wide connector between Asia and North America. The celestial smiley face is the result of a planetary conjunction between Venus, Jupiter, and the moon, shown here over Manila in the Philippines.
When composition, light, and exposure are all superb, "best" truly is in the eye of the beholder. Afghan women who set themselves on fire may do so to escape abuse at home, believing they will die instantly. Scientists at Novosibirsk and in Germany are comparing the aggressive rat genome to that of rats selected for friendliness, attempting to untangle connections between DNA and behavior. The Mai-Mai Kifuafua, one of many local militias, flaunts its power on a road where it extorts money from villagers and travelers. From the size of a hovering insect to larger than a human being, birds come in all shapes and sizes, most of which are able to fly…. These vultures have specialised haemoglobin that allows them to store huge amounts of oxygen as they ascend to compensate for the lack of oxygen at high altitudes. Here are the “Top 25 Wild Bird Photographs of the Week” drawn from the hundreds of photographs submitted to the Wild Bird Trust for consideration every week.
At these famous cemeteries, dig past the spooky surface to find a repository enlivened by the legends of the characters buried below. No viewpoint offers a better perspective on the contrast between the dizzying verticality of the gorge and the horizontal rock layers through which it was carved. The others in the pantheon, including El Capitan, Sentinel Rock, and Cathedral Spires, are no less illustrious; however, there’s something special about Half Dome.


Together they compose a formidable alpine stronghold of snow, rock, and ice, a seemingly untouchable and remote world. Sometimes, it floats above the clouds, visible only to mountaineers on its glacier-decked slopes and to thrilled passengers of flights climbing south from Seattle. Eventually, war and politics ended the claims of native people, and a flood of settlers poured through the Cumberland Gap. What Francis Parkman described in 1846 as “the same wild endless expanse” stretched through tomorrow into forever. The summit, hovering 1,267 feet above Wyoming’s Belle Fourche River, is flat, not visible from below, and therefore mysterious. Sea level fell when Ice Age glaciers took up vast quantities of water and rose when those glaciers melted. After separating the bodies, he saw from the ear markings that one belonged to him and the other to his cousin. For almost 20 years near-constant fighting over land, mining riches, and power has terrorized the people. At least one Friday a month, boys gathered after school in the backyard of Bryan Campbell (at far left) to wrestle and box. They also have high quality down feathers to insulate them from the cold, an advanced circulatory system that slows flow to non-essential body parts (similar to free-divers) and a 3rd set of clear eyelids that function as flight goggles. When weather permits, 14,410-foot-high Rainier is visible from most of western Washington and far out to sea.
Plains tribes—Lakota, Shoshone, Crow, Blackfeet, Kiowa, Arapaho, and others—consider the tower a sacred object and call it by evocative names like Bear’s Lodge, Mythic-owl Mountain, Grey Horn Butte, Ghost Mountain, and Tree Rock.
The opposite pleasure is to get far above it all, up in the wind and weather, where the view is limited only by the arc of the Earth. Skaltje is much admired by the younger Sami in his herding group, but he is unsure whether the skills he teaches them will endure. They are the result of millions of years of natural selection and evolution from the time of the dinosaurs.
Celebrate the freedom and splendor of birds in the wild with us and stimulate positive change by sharing how beautiful the birds of the world really are… Simply include #greatnature #wildbird when posting new photos… Join the world in celebrating our natural heritage!
The whole purpose of being up that high is to cover vast distances while on the look out for spiralling vultures down below, so sight is imporant… Amazing! Alaska natives expressed their awe with a single word, Denali, which means “the high one.” With all due respect to the 25th American President, the mountain remains the ineffable Denali in the eyes of many.
Knowing the stories—from mysterious Native American vision quest sites found high on The Grand to modern feats of endurance and skill, such as hiking the nine central peaks in a Grand Traverse—coupled with spending some time on even the lower trails, makes it clear.
It looms above the skyline of downtown Seattle as if its glaciers were invading suburban neighborhoods. The boys often used phones to film their contests, posting the videos to a private Facebook group so more friends could admire their prowess.
They managed to take to the skies to exploit the flying insects that encouraged spiders to weave the elaborate webs we see today.
Adding to its appeal, the North Rim is forested, wildflower strewn, and pleasantly cooler in summer than the South Rim. By 1820, despite sporadic warfare and the inherent challenge of life on the frontier, some 300,000 settlers had passed through the gap on their way west. Quite a few people climbed the slope at its base to scratch their names in the soft sandstone. The tower’s ongoing importance is reflected by ceremonies and rituals conducted every year by regional tribes.
The rush of a headlock, a bond between friends—their fights delivered both excitement and social rewards. Being able to fly allowed the first birds to escape predation from established terrestrial predators and access much safer nesting sites.
Cape Royal is a prime spot to watch cloud formations sail across the void, but beware of thunderstorms.
This gives the mountain an all-in-one-view vertical rise more than a mile greater than Mount Everest, which begins its grand ascent at an already lofty elevation of about 17,000 feet. The geologic story, not fully understood, credits an intrusion of molten igneous rock that took shape beneath overlying sedimentary layers, where it hardened and was eventually exposed by erosion.
Side roads beckon toward Mineral Bottom, on the Green River, and Dead Horse Point State Park, perched above the Colorado River. Flight gave them more food, better nests, more security and access to every possible habitat on the planet. The trail, which takes in the glories of Vernal and Nevada Falls along the way, ends on a cable-protected pathway nailed to smooth granite slabs.
In the process of cooling, the rock formed vertical hexagonal columns that, parallel but separate, give the tower its distinctive striated appearance. Migration of thousands of kilometres became possible, thus allowing birds to exploit seasonal food resources in different hemispheres. A true understanding of the mountain and its relationship to those gazing at it in wonderment lies somewhere in the experience of being near it. Carry on to the apex where the triangle, clawed by erosion from both sides, comes to a jaw-dropping halt overlooking the confluence of the two great rivers and a vast spill of brightly colored sediments, intricately carved and at the same time massive in scale. The landmark means more to modern people as we ponder our heritage, study our maps, and consider the mere 50-mile separation between Asia and North America. Meander along the 224-mile (360 km) Romantic Road, beginning in the Franconia wine region—where local wine festivals punctuate the autumn calendar—and heading south through centuries-old towns such as medieval Rothenburg ob der Tauber and Dinkelsbu?hl.
Modern people have, for the last few centuries, been killing wild birds in their millions for the first time. Today, there are shocking stories from around the world of wild birds being exploited by the wild-caught bird trade or for bushmeat and as a delicacy. One of the best spots for koyo is Kyoto on the island of Honshu, where vivid leaves frame sloping temple roofs, remnants of the city’s many centuries of imperial history.
Nighttime illuminations pierce the translucent, heavy branches at their colorful height from mid-November through December.



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