Jan 31

Are Emotions for the Birds?

Tag: Life Purpose and Self ExpressionBeth and Neill @ 8:00 pm

We were e-mailed this set of pictures by a friend. We were so touched we wanted to share them with you.

The story goes that these pictures were taken by a French photographer, who sold them for a nominal fee to the most popular newspaper in France. And that the newspaper edition was completely sold out on the day these pictures were published.

It’s a profound and deeply emotional story told in pictures.

Beware, it’s a tear-jerker.

Here the mate is injured and the condition is fatal.

Here he brought her food and attended to her with love and compassion.

Came back to bring her more food but was shocked to find her dead. He tried to move her.

Aware that his sweetheart is dead and will never come back to him again, he cried with adoring love.

He stood beside her, saddened by her death.

Finally aware that she would never return to him, he stood beside her body with sadness and sorrow.

Emotion is a funny thing. We can feel it, sense it in others, or see it on people’s faces or in their body language. These images and the story they tell are a great example. Some people think animals aren’t capable of the complex emotions ascribed to the bird in these pictures.

What do you think?

With Love,
Beth and Neill

74 Responses to “Are Emotions for the Birds?”

  1. nikkie says:

    Is society that jaded that we cant even take something like *this* and appreciate it for what it might be. Or at least take something out of it. Calling it “photoshopped” or “stupid”.. is just senseless. Didnt your mother ever tell you if you dont have anything nice to say, dont say anything at all?

    I think the photos are beautiful.

  2. noahphence says:


  3. Barry says:

    Typical of anthropomorphic projection.

  4. someone says:

    Everyone who is saying this is fake, or that this bird really has no compassion or feeling for the injured bird and it was just trying to mate… Seriously, guys, open your eyes. The world could live perfectly fine, if not even better, without us! Don’t act like you know everything! This is a really touching story. Thank you for posting.

  5. vraiment says:

    Seems to me like people are trying very hard to humanize these birds. I had a night of magpies squaking ang freaking out….when I went to see what was up, one was half dead with about 5 or 6 jumping around in what seemed like panic next to it. But, was this panic, sadness, aggression, or some other non human act that we do not understand so therefore humanizing it to something we do get is the easy route. I am an animal lover, a vegetarian and I do believe a life is a life. I just do not agree that all lives are like our human ones.

  6. Collin says:

    I think you are confusing emotions with survival instincts. Here is what I see. Two birds are needed for procreation. If one is injured the other intellectually knows it needs to help the hurt partner if it wishes to procreate. Of course being human, and naturally emotional we see the world through a veil of emotions. We project our emotions on to creatures who have no need of them.

  7. Payten says:

    It really makes you wonder about some things. This is a true sign that all mammals have some sort of heart or soul. Mothers care for their young and will even die for them. A prime example of this is the Mockingbird. It will die to protect it’s young and I feel that it has a connection with this. It’s very sad… Looking at this makes me cry.

  8. Branka says:

    Who can even doubt that animals have feelings and emotions, just as we do?

  9. MikeF says:

    The comments make me laugh. “saddened by her death”, “cried with adoring love”, give me a break. A bird is not even self aware. A bird is not capable of human attributes. If this were the case, then why don’t depressed birds ever commit suicide? Birds have certain behaviors that may appear to be emotions, Do lions say grace before eating a zebra? After all, when the zebra is killed they usually stop their activities for a few minutes. Or can it be they are resting from the exertion of the hunt?

  10. Fish Tank Aquariums says:

    All animals are living things hence they have feelings and they can certainly get hurt. That is why I make sure I handle all my pet fishes in my fish tanks with utmost care.

  11. Roy the Gourd says:

    We can argue on forever as to the degree and quality of bird “emotion” but the significant issue is:
    What does viewing these photos do to that part of us as humans that makes us different from any other
    life form on earth? Of course we are “anthropomorphic”, and might ascribe something in human emotion
    to the behavior of other animals. The wonderful part of all of this is: We have the capability to
    experience and relive our own pains and losses and learn the lessons of patience, understanding, acceptance,
    and compassion.

  12. faith says:

    did the first bird was killed by the second? and then stage a drama

  13. kaylee says:

    We are animals. We have emotions. we have feelings. They show it in a different way.

  14. Fortuna says:

    These pictures are heartbreaking and I have no doubt that they are real. I’ve been observing birds for years. I’ve seen a crow return to her nest in a tall pine to discover that city tree trimmers destroyed it. I heard her scream in grief – the eeriest and saddest sound I’ve ever heard. I saw a dove lay next to an injured baby sparrow for over 6 hours until it died. Anyone who still sneers at what they consider the anthropomorphizing of birds and other animals are not keeping up with the science of ethnology. The days of scientists declaring that animals don’t have human emotions are over. Look it up.

  15. Roland says:

    emotions are by no means a human construct.To have emotions all a creature requires is glands that excrete certain chemicals which create the things we recognise as Emotions and every animal has these glands so therefore all animals(with a brain of coarse) have emotions.

  16. CodeSculptor says:

    These are two MALE barn-swallows (Hirundo Rrustica). The pictures were taken as they were fighting for territory, as they often do. One did actually kill the other, so that aspect of the mortality-tale is true. It’s been covered in various blogs and in the March 21st New Scientist magazine.

  17. drazil says:

    When someone commented on how beautiful the sunset was, my ex-husband would always say, “It’s the pollution that makes it colorful”. He found problems with everything. Something couldn’t just be beautiful or nice; there always had to be a problem. That makes life very difficult. He would always get upset that I couldn’t see the bad side. I told him that if he wanted to look for the bad side of things, he should. But I preferred not to (which also upset him!). Misery loves company. Sad people want to make others feel sad.

  18. Teresa says:

    Anyone who truly believes that animals dont have emotions doesnt know a thing about animals. They have their rituals and their own cultures and ways of communicating just like people do. They have families and they love. There has been many examples of this behavior. I think that some people need to believe that it is not true in order to feel superior to the animals, when in fact the quality that truly makes us superior is to recognize it and appreciate it and protect the animals vulnerable existance on this earth with the most evil and dangerous animal of all….man.

  19. A person says:

    Oh, how sweet. It’s strange that human’s consider themselves “the top of the top” just because we so greedily have claimed Earth for ourselves. Animals and humans are more alike than we like to think. Unfortunately, humans cant see it that way.

  20. Fish Tank Aquariums says:

    That was one mad bird. The same thing will happen if I mix two of the wrong species of fish in my fish tank aquarium. It is sad that animals and fish can be so cruel.

  21. James says:

    Are they love birds? :o)
    Seriously, I’m quite ashamed on how these animals can be better than humans in caring for others. Sad.

  22. Franklin says:

    Howdy! Someone in my group shared this site with us so I came to check it out. I’m definitely enjoying the information. I’m book-marking and will be tweeting this to my followers! Outstanding blog and design.

  23. Carley says:

    Anybody else think this article needs a 2nd part to it?
    I thought the content was excellent, but I nevertheless have unanswered questions as I’m convinced other individuals do