Bird Glamour, Where Birds Give Eye Makeup Advice!

Welcome to Bird Glamour!


I am not shy about professing my bird-nerdiness. Birds, being our only living dinosaurs, have fascinated me for as long as I can remember.

Friends and family often ask me "What's this bird?" The most recent one was a picture posted by a friend on Instagram asking about the identity of an owl (he was having a sick run of awesome owl sightings.) I identified it as a Short-eared Owl, and described it as having a "dramatic smoky eye."

Over the next few days I started thinking "what if  I showcased different species of birds using their diverse eye patterns and colours as a template for eye makeup?" I mused the question out loud to my husband on a drive, and his response was "That's awesome! Do it! You have to do it!"

And thus #BirdGlamour was born!

Bird Glamour is where I, inexperienced with eye makeup, ask our friends the birds what they would recommend wearing for different occasions. I'll post a new bird eye look each Friday afternoon. If you have a favorite bird you would like to see done, feel free to comment! Comparison images are from (unless otherwise indicated) the Sibley eGuide to Birds of North America Android app.

Newest Bird Glamour looks will be at the top! Also check out my Twitter @Lisavipes for the latest Bird Glamour!

Note: When mentioning to family that I have my Bird Glamour posts on my blog, Dad kindly pointed out "Well, not recently." Point taken! I am now updating the page!

October 31, 2017 - Halloween Special: Harpy Eagle and Bearded Vulture

The Harpy Eagle is a neotropical raptor known for eating sloths and monkeys! Harpy Eagles are a lovely smoky grey color, and also come with a resplendent crest of feathers. For Halloween I decided to take the Bird Glamour up a notch and add a feathered crest. Rich joined in on the Halloween fun and went as the Bearded Vulture, a bird of prey (not really a true vulture!) from Asia and Africa that is so hard core it breaks and eats bone.
The Harpy Eagle.
The Lammergeier, or Bearded Vulture, getting ready to crack open some tasty bones!

October 22, 2017 - The Cockatiel and the Barred Owl

My friend Nadine got in on some Bird Glamour action to stage a play for you called "The Cockatiel and the Barred Owl," a tale that reminds us our exotic feathery friends, such as cockatiels, are really better off indoors or in nice aviaries.

October 27, 2017 - Bohemian Waxwing Video Tutorial with Audubon Society

I worked with Audubon Society to develop my first-ever Bird Glamour video tutorial! You may see more of these in the future!

October 6, 2017 - Bohemian Waxwing

Bohemian Waxwings, and the closely related species Cedar Waxwings, start flocking up in the fall and visiting berry bushes! You'll hear their high-pitched trilling in the tops of fruit trees. Unfortunately, fruit that has been hit with frost can ferment, creating alcohol that the waxwings consume. This can lead to their deaths, either through intoxication-related accidents or alcohol poisoning. Be sure to clean frost-hit fall fruit off of your trees!

September 29, 2017 - Secretary Bird

Stomp! Stomp! Secretary birds are a long-legged bird of prey native to sub-Saharan Africa. They spend a lot of time hunting on foot...and using their feet to capture their prey with a viciously quick and powerful stomp! Read more about the snake-stomping Secretary bird here.

September 16, 2017 - South Korea: Black-faced Spoonbill and Long-eared Owl

My friend Suijin (ichnology graduate student) joined me in some Bird Glamour! She is a Long-eared Owl. I went as the Black-faced Spoonbill. Spoonbills have a specialized bill that sweeps the sediment of a shallow lake or river to stir up fish and other tasty treats, leaving crescent-shaped marks. In South Korea, there is an Early Cretaceous bird track type called Ignotornis gajinensis that preserves spoonbill-like crescent scour marks! It is likely that this bird trackmaker had a bill like that of a modern-day spoonbill!

September 8, 2017 - Black-browed Albatross

A fitting Bird Glamour before our flight to South Korea! Albatross are a fascinating, but endangered, group of birds known for their amazing long-distance flight. Learn more about albatross here:

September 2, 2017 - Vulture Awareness Day: Hooded Vulture and Lammergeier

Vultures do not get the love they deserve. Important scavengers, vultures are threatened by poisoning (unintentional and deliberate) as well as ignorance.

The Hooded Vulture is a Red-List species. Learn more here.
Hooded Vulture (Necrosyrtes monachus).
The Lammergeier, or Bearded Vulture, is actually not in the vulture group: it's a fancy-pants bird of prey that has adapted to the high-altitude mountains of Asia and Africa. It is famous for not only decorating its white plumage with red and orange mud, but also for breaking and eating bone!

September 1, 2017 - Western Tanager

A common sight during the summer, the insect-hunting Western Tanager is a little different from other birds that have bright red in their plumage. Western Tanagers use rhodoxanthin, rather than carotenoids, to produce their bright orange-red colors.

August 25, 2017 - Society of Vertebrate Paleontology Annual Auction: Anchiornis

In honor of the SVP conference, I had to do a fossil-themed Bird Glamour. I put it to a vote, and Anchiornis huxleyi won by a fair margin. You can see why: this feathered dinosaur made a big splash in the news when paleontologists figured out the original feather colors from preserved melanosomes! Here's a write-up on the study, showing how we know the feathers were black, rusty-red, and white.

August 18, 2017 - Yellow Warbler

"Sweet, sweet, I'm so sweet!" Yellow Warblers are a common sight among the tops of deciduous trees and tips of branches during the summer, foraging tiny insects. While mostly yellow, the males have rusty red stripes on their breast.

August 11, 2017 - Blue-cheeked Bee-eater

During our trip to Turkmenistan to help assess an application for a UNESCO World Heritage Site, I saw so many birds that left an impression on me. One of my favorites was the Blue-cheeked Bee-eater. My photography skills were just passable enough to take a picture of a Blue-cheeked Bee-eater catching a flying insect on the wing.
It's grainy, and taken from a moving train, but I love this picture.

August 4, 2017 - Great Grey Owl for International Owl Awareness Day

In honor of #internationalowlawarenessday, the Great Grey Owl suggests greys and silver around bright yellow eyes when hunting for prey mammals from trees! #BirdGlamour

July 28, 2017 - Barn Swallow

This week's #BirdGlamour tips come from the busy Barn Swallow! These frequent barn inhabitants hunt insects on the wing, and recommend a simple yet striking dark blue and rusty orange for hunting out high-protein nibbles. #sciart #scicomm

July 21, 2017 - Sora

This week's #BirdGlamour tips come from a shy, secretive bird with a big song, the Sora. This little rail recommends smoky blues and browns for singing stealthily in the marshes. #sciart

July 18, 2017 - American Kestrel

Recent #BirdGlamour tips come from our friend American Kestrel! This itty-bitty falcon isn't afraid to frame their eyes with bold geometric black patterns when hovering over their prey...and neither should you!

July 7, 2017 - Killdeer

Ow, ow, I hurt my wing...or did I? Surprise! I picked up some acting lessons while getting #BirdGlamour tips from our friend Killdeer! This plover is famous for its broken wing display, which they use to lure predators away from babies! Killdeer recommends lining red eyes with black, white, and buff. Perfect for attending and performing in Shakespeare In The Park.

July 3, 2017 - Atlantic Puffin for World Seabird Day

The Atlantic Puffin is one of many seabirds that, on #WorldSeabirdDay, wishes we humans would stop throwing so much plastic waste into the oceans.

June 30, 2017 - Anna's Hummingbird

Anna's Hummingbird, the city of Vancouver's Official Bird, is known for striking deep pink hues contrasting with vibrant greens. Anna's Hummingbird recommends this look for a day of sipping sugary drinks at your local flowers and feeders. Be sure to keep your hummingbird feeders clean: dirty hummingbird feeders are dangerous to our flying jewels!

June 23, 2017 - Blue Jay

A familiar guest at our feeders, Blue Jays are a bright and cheeky member of the corvid family (crows, ravens, magpies, and jays.) Blue Jay recommends various shades of blue for visiting your local seed and nut feeders!

June 17 - Western Meadowlark

Western Meadowlarks have been present during every one of our field expeditions into the prairie provinces, waking us at the crack of dawn with their boisterous, melodious voices. Western Meadowlarks recommend balancing neutral browns with a vibrant yellow for early morning choir performances.

June 16 - Gray Jay

While hoped to be Canada's National Bird - but now it seems like that won't happen - the Grey Jay is an important part of First Nations traditional stories and artwork (read more here,) and a beloved visitor to campgrounds and hiking trails...or anywhere where people are going to bring snacks into the woods! Grey Jay recommends smoky grey with a dark grey eyeliner, partnered with white highlights. I wore this Bird Glamour look to the welcome reception for the British Columbia Field Ornithologists' meeting in Tumbler Ridge.

June 9, 2017 - Short-eared Owl

My first Bird Glamour! Short-eared Owls recommend a dramatic smoky eye (it helps if you have yellow eyes, but that's something owls do best) with pale beige highlights.

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