Natural AestheticsVIRUS 2020

5 November VIRUS 2020

5 November, VIRUS 2020

Global-scale animal ecology reveals behavioral changes in response to climate change

Using a new large-scale data archive of animal movement studies, an international team including University of Maryland biologists found that animals are responding in unexpected ways to climate change.

The Poem That Inspired Radical Black Women to Organize.[1]

The pale tail of a Bandicoot scoots into the trees
as red leaks from veins draining the horizon.

Venus is a shining example and the clouds become
beautiful, always ready to accept light, looking light
and easy, but heavy with vapour and home to bacteria,
the most active ice nuclei. Who’d have thought? Clouds rain so life is never far away, offer resurrection
vanishing then reappearing out of the thinnest air. Landscape isn’t always lying, though the Gumbaynnggirr
sand, rocks, birds, crabs, flowers and trees might disagree. An Osprey catches me photographing Helios entering
as I have a hundred times, I should resist, sense
the bird above me. I shoot quickly, off settings.Sun’s up, the moon seems stuck over the reserve. Venus has just left. I will ring my mother later.
Her mother used to say to her, ‘You are the sun,
the moon and the stars to me.’ Sadness oozes,
my mother in lockdown again, no visitors, no human
touch, those she loved all gone, all that energy
love generates, shared over so many generations,
that just dissipates with death, lost as if exorcised.
We speak every other day, but no touching. The shoreline offers so many options though
the Oystercatchers are not on the rocky point
a favourite hunting ground. A shallow lip
of the river-mouth is a platform of oscillating
patterns, each moment interrupted by the next
in a flow of interactions with the lunar breath.

The sea has left beautiful line drawings without
compass and protractor, without a skilled hand.

Minimal bird hustle so far.


Jagun’s sculptures stand the test of time,

Crinum Lilies loosen their charms on the edge of Oyster creek.

By the railway line, the clarion calls of Bell Miners, not heard here
before, warn they are ready for insurrection in the forest.
About to turn for home I hear the sound of eating, recognise
the grind and chew and find three Glossy Black Cockatoos,
tail-feathered glories shy. Red-browed Finches dot the branches.

Glossy Black Cockatoos


I turn a corner, the Noisy Friarbird stops mid splash,
I stop and so it continues to jump in and out of the bath
spinning droplets from ruffled feathers.

King Parrot, male

Screaming from the rainforest garden, I look down over
the vines, it’s a young Rainbow Lorikeet complaining
about the state of things. Well, the sun has gone, wind
has whipped up and the US election is knife edged
and a King Parrot is looking my way.


Is America Becoming a Failed State? NY Times

Number one issue: do not get your political information from social media. Just don’t. You want to have a fight, an argument, god bless, but do not try to learn anything from it. Most of what’s going on is disinformation, and an awful lot of it is designed to cause you to lose interest in democracy and to not vote. Roger McNamee[2]

A dystopian technology future overran our lives before we were ready.

The sad truth is that even if Facebook can limit overt political manipulation on its platforms, it would still pose a threat to democracy. Filter and preference bubbles will continue to undermine basic democratic processes like deliberation and compromise until something comes along to break users out of them. In addition, behavioural addiction, bullying, and other public health issues would remain. Roger McNamee[3]

The impression in these pages is that although the harm that Facebook can inflict on the world – on the workings of governments, on the nature of privacy and free speech, on individual contentment – is only beginning, that harm is also more or less here to stay. Steve Donoghue[4]


I get a Birdlife email: ‘2020 BirdLife Australia Photography Awards Winners are here!’

The portfolio ‘Australian Fairy Tern Behaviour’ by Claire Greenwell is amazing.  ‘Over the past two years, I’ve studied the behaviour, natural history and feeding ecology of Fairy Terns with the overarching aim of informing policy and conservation efforts for this threatened species. Environmental education plays an important role in fostering community stewardship and I aim to use the knowledge from my research along with my images to highlight the plight of these vulnerable birds and other beach-nesting species.’

Why do I bother taking photographs of birds?

Sunset, storm coming


[1] ‘We are women all, / and what wrongs you murders me/ and eventually marks your grave / so we share a mutual death at the hand of tyranny . . .’ Beah Richards (Beulah Richardson wrote ‘A Black Woman Speaks of White Womanhood, of White Supremacy, of Peace’ in 1950, and first performed it at the American People’s Peace Congress . . . The poem illuminated the oppression Black women faced because they were Black women. ), She was an actor best known for Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner. Nov 5 2020

[2] Roger McNamee on the Incompatibility of Social Media and Democracy, interview with Scott Moyers, Sun Valley Writers’ Conference, Lit Hub, 5.11.2020.

[3] Roger McNamee, Zucked: Waking Up to the Facebook Catastrophe, Penguin Press, 2019.

[4] Steve Donoghue, review of Roger McNamee, Zucked: Waking Up to the Facebook Catastrophe, Penguin Press, 2019.

Show More

Related Articles

Back to top button