Thayer Walker

The Bird Hero and villain, mascot and movie star, the penguin captures the imagination unlike any other bird. Upright and bipedal, they look like us. Monogamous, devoted parents, they behave as we do. We celebrate their strengths, parody their shortcomings, and make them the subject of our myths. In studying penguins, we learn about ourselves....

“This Punchinello figure–such a nose! My lords, there is no such nose as that nose. You cannot look upon it without crying: ‘Oh no, Impossible! Exaggerated!’ Then you smile and say: ‘of course–I might have known; presently he will take it off.’ But Monsieur de Bergerac will never do.” –Ragueneau, “Cyrano de Bergerac” The Bird...

The Bird Can a bird be punk rock? With a mohawk of feathers down its head, a painted-red face, and a diet that includes cobras, the secretary-bird certainly fits the bill. A rebellious deviation of evolution, the secretary is so unique that it’s one of just a handful of birds depicted in the Wall of...

The Bird To those who would contend evolution a humorless process, see Exhibit A: the kiwi. Round and squat, flightless and half-blind, this strange bird has become a cultural icon despite—or perhaps due to—its lack of physical elegance. New Zealand evolved as a kingdom of birds, so it’s fitting that the eight families representing this region...

To celebrate its centennial, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology has commissioned Ink Dwell studio to create a mural 70 feet long and 40 feet high depicting the 375-million-year evolution of birds through paintings of 270 species. When complete it will be the world’s only mural depicting all the modern families of birds in one place. It’s a...