Pain and suffering?

It’s all down to interpretation.

A friend has shown me a remarkable series of photographs under the heading “The suffering of a poor bird”. (N.B. I copy the captions and final comment exactly as I received them) ...

1. Here his wife is injured and the condition is very appalling


2. Here he brings her food and attend her with love and compassion


3. Brings her food but shocked with her death and try to move her


4. He is aware that his sweetheart is dead and will not come to him again he cries with adoring love


5. Stand beside her and scream saddened of her death


6. Finally aware that she would not return to him and she departed him, stand beside her body with sad and sorrow

Photos of two birds said to have pictured in the Republic of Ukraine.

Millions of people cry after watching this picture in America and Europe.

It is said that the photographer sold these picture for a nominal price to the most famous news paper in France. And all the copies of that news paper were sold out on the day of publishing these pictures.

The photos are great. Note the narrow depth of field of the telephoto lens. The photographer has got the focus in just the right place. And the featureless surroundings, coupled with the low viewpoint, add to the drama. But ...

Am I just a cynical old curmudgeon?

These two birds appear to be two male Barn Swallows (Hirundo rustica). I say male, judging from the length of their tail streamers, though this is not easy to see. And this looks like a deadly serious territorial fight.

In pictures 3 and 4 the uninjured one seems to be in particularly aggressive postures.

So, could the ‘...scream saddened of her death ...’ actually be a cry of triumph?

I don't think we do ourselves any favours, sentimentalising the natural world.

The English poet, Tennyson, wrote:

Who trusted God was love indeed
And love Creation's final law

Tho' Nature, red in tooth and claw

With ravine, shriek'd against his creed



2 comments:

Mighty Mom said...

Definitely two males, if you ask me.

Alistair Scott said...

Right on, Mighty Mom.

After posting this, I got out my copy of the ‘Handbook of Swallows and Martins of the World’, (yes, believe it or not I have a copy on my bookshelf) and read the entry on this species. In part, it reads:

“Nest-owners use a threat display in which they sing, with wings slightly open … and chase and fight in mid-air, sometimes wounding or even killing each other.”