Livingston photographer focuses on birds in new book

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An eaglet ignored by its mother is photographed as it is about to bite its mother’s tail feathers to get her attention. Taking pictures of eagles in Minnesota led to Livingston photographer Tom Murphy deciding to publish a book on birds.

Tom Murphy, courtesy photo Brett French

Weaver birds in Rwanda tie knots to build their nests, one example of bird behavior that has long fascinated Tom Murphy.

“The old idea that animals can’t make tools … let’s see you build a nest with your lips,” he said.

People who pooh-pooh birds as not very smart, are missing out on the animals’ many adaptations to specialized tasks and feats, Murphy said.

“They do all kinds of amazing things we can’t do,” he noted, such as raptors that can see the ultraviolet reflections of mice urine in order to track them down.

Two great horned owlets in Wyoming cuddle on a branch about a month after leaving their nest.

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