Weekly Photo Challenge: Love


Love – a very often used word that all too often seems to be misused. I mean, “Don’t you just Love it, when the Weekly Photo Challenge is Love?” Or how about “I just Love my ….(insert any sort of electronic device here)”.

Love – a wildly misunderstood, although highly desirable, malfunction of the heart which weakens the brain, causes eyes to sparkle, cheeks to glow, blood pressure to rise and the lips to pucker.

Well I Love my camera and I sincerely hope that when I’m out using it I don’t suffer from the effects mentioned above. Otherwise people are going to be looking at me extremely strangely. If you haven’t already guessed, I’m struggling again to find a suitable photograph for this weeks challenge.

Although I’ve got photographs from weddings and parties, I’ve never felt comfortable about publishing them on the internet. After all, they are personal to the subjects of the photographs and I know I wouldn’t be too happy if my photograph was published without my consent. I suppose I could ask for permission and put everything on a formal footing by getting a Model Release signed. However I need to get on with the challenge, so instead, here’s my photograph for this weeks challenge

Newbors Gull Chicks

Alright, alright, “Where’s the Love here?” I hear you asking. Let me explain….

There is scientific evidence supporting the claim that animals can feel emotions and that human emotions evolved from the same mechanisms.[1][2]

Does that mean that animals can feel Love? Who knows? But have a look at the next set of photographs and have a think about it. But before you do, here’s some background. Living on the coast, we have our fair share of sea-birds. gulls being the most prominent and noisiest. Our coastline is not rocky, instead we have long sandy beaches with sand dunes, so the gulls come inland to nest. A sloping roof with a chimney is ideal as it provides the right conditions for nest-building. In the photograph above you can just see the side of the chimney.

Here’s the next photograph. The gull chicks have decided to go walk-about and are now climbing the sloping roof.

Climbing Gull Chicks

The parents are not on the roof and by leaving the nest, the chicks have put themselves in danger. Known predators in our area are magpies, crows and cats. Magpies will readily raid a nest for eggs and a small chick on an exposed roof, really is fair game.

Using a 500mm lens allows me to stand back and watch the chicks without disturbing them. For about a minute or two they’ve been slowly climbing that sloping roof. But not too worry, in comes the first parent. That beak is open for a reason. It’s making a tremendous racket, typical gull calls, and the noise carries some distance. Is it a call for help? Maybe it’s worried about the chicks……I believe it is.

The Proud Parent

The author Marc Bekoff provided evidence of animals having emotions in his book, The Emotional Lives of Animals. The following is an excerpt from his book:

A few years ago my friend Rod and I were riding our bicycles around Boulder, Colorado, when we witnessed a very interesting encounter among five magpies. Magpies are corvids, a very intelligent family of birds. One magpie had obviously been hit by a car and was laying dead on the side of the road. The four other magpies were standing around him. One approached the corpse, gently pecked at it – just as an elephant noses the carcass of another elephant – and stepped back. Another magpie did the same thing. Next, one of the magpies flew off, brought back some grass, and laid it by the corpse. Another magpie did the same. Then, all four magpies stood vigil for a few seconds and one by one flew off.

That call obviously means something because within minutes the other parent has landed on the roof above the chicks.

Proud Parents

Between them the parents guide the chicks back down the roof and into the nest. It takes a while but they get there eventually.

In The Nest

This time no one is going walk about as one of the parents stays with the chick on the nest. So there you have it. Caring parents who Love their errant children. Or is it just natural animal instinct?

[1] Jaak Panksepp (1982). Toward a general psychobiological theory of emotions. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 5, pp 407-422. doi:10.1017/S0140525X00012759. http://journals.cambridge.org/abstract_S0140525X00012759

[2]   Emotions help animals to make choices http://www.bristol.ac.uk/news/2010/7165.html

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10 comments

  1. Angeline M

    I “love” the last photo; the chick looks very satisfied with himself. Had a little excursion and now safe back in the nest.
    I truly think animals have emotions and feelings.

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  2. stephenransome

    A super blog Mike. Wonderful to read AND to look at. Who knows, perhaps we follow the same instincts and call it something else to sell Valentines Cards!!! Nice one.

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  3. petspeopleandlife

    Excellent example of love. And shows mere humans just how smart birds are. Too bad that many people don’t follow the examples of animals and birds when caring for their young. Nice shots Mike.

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  4. Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge: Love and Roses | My.Vivid.Visions
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  6. Andrew Hill

    Great site. I live in Gloucester and am an amateur in the truest sense but love photography. I just had images published in The Citizen of St Oswalds Priory at night, and its sites like yours that encourage people like me to aspire to greater things

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