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Instants: Birds of a Feather

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Robert Clark's study of birds.

In our new series “Instants,” the Proof staff brings you a snapshot of recent dispatches from the @natgeo Instagram feed. Follow us to experience more from National Geographic on Instagram.

Making an interesting and beautiful still life is not an easy task. Here at National Geographic, we’re lucky to have a number of photographers who really shine in the studio.

One of those photographers is Robert Clark, whose fascinating work on taxidermy was recently featured here on the Proof blog. Clark takes a meticulous approach to lighting and researching his subjects. Because of his attention to detail, he has worked on several natural history stories for the magazine.

Clark has recently been working on a new edit of his February 2011 magazine story “The Long, Curious, Extravagant Evolution of Feathers” for a book project. As he digs through thousands of bird, fossil and feather images, Clark has been sharing a few selections on the @natgeo Instagram.

This is the feather of a Superb Lyre bird (Menura Superba), an extravagant bird from the Passeriform order found in the forests of Australia.




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This chicken is known as a Silkie, a breed of domestic chicken, Gallus Domesticus. The first documented appearance of a Silkie appears in the written accounts of #MarcoPolo. Their plumage is not ‘fur’ as many claim it to be. It is actually a collection of semi-plume feathers lacking barbules, the little hooks that keep other contour feathers stuck together.

It’s astounding to see all the different feathers and their functions as they vary from bird to bird. Here you can see the small colorful feathers that coat the nape of a Scarlet Chested Parrot, one of dozens of feather types in 17 different feather areas.

The editing on the feather work continues.

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