The loneliest bird in the world: Sad life of the rare albino sparrow that others refuse to mate with and whose bright feathers make him an easy meal for predators
- A rare albino sparrow has made its home at Sanctuary Lakes in Melbourne
- Its colour makes it an obvious tasty meal for birds of prey
- The bird has poor eyesight and brittle feathers so it can’t fly far
- Other sparrows give it the cold shoulder because it looks so different
- ‘Charles Darwin didn’t do this bird any favours,’ says birdwatcher
In the bird equivalent of the TV program ‘Survivor’ the albino sparrow wouldn’t last a week, but despite being one of the rarest birds in the world one of the species has been spotted in Melbourne.
The bird is a loner for a reason. A genetic mutation that leaves its feathers pure white makes it stand out to all birds of prey in the vicinity who fancy a quick snack. It has very poor eyesight and brittle feathers so it can’t fly very far.
No only that, but because it looks so different none of the other sparrows will want to mate with it. It’s got its work cut out to stay alive let alone have a social life.
The rare albino sparrow’s colour makes it stand out as a tasty dinner for birds of prey
The bird has bad eyesight and has brittle feathers that makes flying difficult for it
But after making its home in Sanctuary Lakes, Point Cook, in the south-west of Melbourne, this particular bird’s existence has improved significantly.
‘Charles Darwin didn’t do this bird any favours I’m afraid,’ local birdwatcher and photographer Bob Winters told Daily Mail Australia.
‘Because of its rare condition the chances of the bird surviving is relatively low. But local people here are protecting it. It’s also got a good survival strategy by being extremely shy.
‘It sticks to the bushes and will only come out when it feels confident enough to do so. But the local community living here are doing their best to protect it and help it survive.’
Photographer Bob Winters is luckily enough to have one living just outside his house
Luckily for Mr Winters the bird is living next to his house, but even then it’s hard to get a photograph of this edgy customer.
‘It’s great to have something so rare to be nearby. But I have to take the photographs through my window inside my house, because the second you open a window he’s gone,’ he says.
Mr Winters judged that this albino sparrow was about seven months old and that in itself was an achievement.
The bird does not stray to far away from its familiar surroundings – going only 100 metres away at most
‘It was lucky it wasn’t turfed out of the nest by the mother as that is what happens to them initially,’ Mr Winters explained to Daily Mail Australia.
‘Parasitic birds lay their eggs in other birds’ nest, so they have to be tuned into this. If the bird in your nest doesn’t look like the rest when it hatches then generally it’s thrown out of the nest.’
This albino sparrow won’t stray too far from it’s familiar surroundings, going no more than 100 metres away and will generally stay hidden.
Because of the many problems it has to overcome albino sparrows will only live to one year old
A normal sparrow lives for five or six years, but the if this one gets to a year old it will have done well says Mr Winters who has been a bird-watcher for 40 years.
‘Because of its colour it’s quite easy for a bird of prey to get it. It’s colour is like an advertisement saying: “Come and eat me.” But with a bit of luck it’ll continue to survive,’ he says.
What colour code are you? How Brazilian artist is using the Pantone paint chart to document every human skin tone possible
A Brazilian artist is challenging the boundaries of race and cultural identity by matching human skin tones to the Pantone colour chart.
While finding exactly the right shade of grey to paint your bedroom wall can be a painstaking affair, Angelika Dass is attempting to ‘record and catalog all possible human skin tones’ using the same kinds of samples you may have once picked up at the home improvement store.
Humanae, as the project has been named by its creator, is a ‘chromatic inventory’ she writes on her Tumblr site, that sheds light on race ‘beyond the borders of our codes’.
Diverse: An artist is using the universal Pantone colour system to document every shade of human skin tone
Using the alphanumeric code of the universal colour system so the images can be reproduced across any media, the fashion graduate and photographer has already snapped the portraits of hundreds of willing models.
And the results are as visually striking as they are thought provoking.
Inviting an entirely mixed bag of ages and ethnicities to pose for her, Dass takes pictures of her male and female subjects and then hones in on an 11×11 pixel sample of their face.
Sample: The artist herself, Angelica Dass, hails from Brazil, a well known melting pot of culture diversity, where she studied fashion before becoming a photographer in Spain
From this close-up, she is then able to match the model’s skin tone with a Pantone colour.
She then washes the background of the photograph with the colour and displays the code at the bottom as if a real paint sample card.
Originally hailing from Brazil, a country famous for its diversity and the range of cutaneous hues that populate its cities and beaches, Dass received a Bachelor of Arts in Fashion Design.
Breaking down stereotypes: The Humanae project, as the creator has names it, questions the suggestion of race and ethnicity by showing so much variation and individuality
After working in fashion industry, the artist then moved to Spain where she studied fashion journalism and photography.
Her aim as a photographer, she writes, is to ‘achieve the public’s direct involvement in photography as a whole concept, as a non-passive communication between people.
‘All her projects deepen in an important issue: social, cultural and racial identity and masks.’
The rainbow of humanity: Artist photographs nearly every shade of skin tone on Earth to prove we’re more than just black or white
- Brazilian photographer Angelica Dass started project as a grad student
- She’s captured portraits of more than 2,500 people across the world
- She doesn’t share information about age, gender, economic status or ethnicity with the photos
- Instead, identifies her subjects by a technical color code that matches their skin tone
A Brazilian artist is using photography to show that humanity is far more diverse than just black and white.
Photographer Angelica Dass’s ongoing project Humanae works to record and catalog as many skin tones as possible.
In the photos she posts on her website, there’s a spectrum of colors that spans far wider than one might expect, but the continuity of the tones shows ‘more equality than difference’, Dass claims.
Brazilian photographer Angelica Dass has taken portraits of more than 2,500 people from across the world to document as many skin colors as possible
Though the project, Humanae, shows how vast the variety in skin tones is, it also shows the continuous spectrum that goes through the colors
With each photo, Dass extracts an 11-by-11 pixel from the volunteer’s face, matches it with a corresponding Pantone color and uses it as the background of the photo
She’s collected portraits of people from around the world, including Barcelona, Rio de Janeiro and Chicago. Volunteer subjects contact Dass on Facebook, Tumblr and in galleries in which her art is displayed
Dass said that the goal of the project is to ‘provoke and bring currently using internet as a discussion platform on ethnic identity, creating images that lead us to match us independent from factors such as nationality, origin, economic status, age or aesthetic standards’
She has shot more than 2,500 portraits for Humanae, which she calls a ‘work in progress’, adding that ‘the only limit would be reached by completing all of the world’s population’
Her portraits have no race, gender, age, race, social class or religion classifications – she simply shows the wide range of different human skin colors
With each photo, Dass extracts an 11-by-11 pixel from the volunteer’s face, matches it with a corresponding Pantone color and uses it as the background of the photo.
The photos are then given an alphanumeric code through the Pantone guidelines, which creates a horizontal range in color.
She’s collected portraits of people from around the world, including Barcelona, Rio de Janeiro and Chicago. Volunteer subjects contact Dass on Facebook, Tumblr and in galleries in which her art is displayed.
Dass said that the goal of the project is to spark discussion on ethnic identity – without regard to factors like ‘nationality, origin, economic status, age or aesthetic standards’.
Humanae started as Dass’s submission for her master’s degree in photography, according to CNN. Her first subjects were members of her Brazilian family, who have a variety of backgrounds.
Each photo is given an alphanumeric code through the Pantone guidelines, which creates a horizontal range in color
The people in the photos range in age, nationality and other identifying factors. But Dass does not display any information other than the skintone code on each photograph
Dass’s project is currently on display at the Gund Gallery in Gambier, Ohio. She has displayed her work in galleries around the world, including Spain and Nigeria
Humanae started as Dass’s submission for her Master’s degree in photography, according to CNN. Her first subjects were members of her Brazilian family who have a variety of backgrounds.
Dass said that her project has been used by scientists to explain how humans sight works, adding that her work has been cited in educational text books
Dass’s subjects not only range in skin tone, but they also range in age, gender, economic and socioeconomic backgrounds
Dass said that not only is she collecting images, but she’s collecting stories from across the world, which see sees as just as important
Dass’s photographs show the wide range of diversity across the world, but they also show the horizontal continuum that these skin tones create
Her portraits have no race, gender, age, race, social class or religion classifications – she simply shows the wide range of different human skin colors.
She has shot more than 2,500 portraits, but still calls the project a ‘work in progress’.
‘The only limit would be reached by completing all of the world’s population,’ Dass claims.
Dass told CNN that she was criticized at the beginning of her project by people who said that Humanae lacked ethnic diversity.
‘A U.S. Senator said that they “love Humanae”, but that they were disappointed that the rich dark colors of central Africa and India are not shown and they hope that they get at least as much attention as the European shades,’ she said.
But Dass hopes that her project will create ‘a discussion platform on identity’ and that people see themselves within the photographs
Humanae is currently on display at the Gund Gallery in Gambier, Ohio.
She hopes to on day have photography sessions on every continent, broadening the representation in her subjects
The range of colors in Dass’s project has gotten broader as she’s taken more pictures. She said the only way to have every skin tone would be to take photos of all of mankind
Dass told CNN that she was criticized at the beginning of her project by people who said that Humanae lacked ethnic diversity
‘We all have this desire [for] “humanity” in common,’ Dass said about seeing oneself in Humanae. She said she hopes the project brings people together