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. Juan Bielsa says:

    Beth and Neill,

    Thank you so much for publishing this story. I love it. Yes, animals have compassion as well.

    In my life I’ve been very happy as I’ve had as friends (beside human beings) so many wonderful animals. They give me TRUE LOVE for free. Animals have emotions as we have. And of course they love, they suffer tremendously, they deserve the best.

    Beth, Neill, thank you again for sharing your knowledge and experiences.

    I will always remember this beautiful story.

    I’ve just added a link from a list of mine of motivational blogs to your great blog.


    From Spain,

    Juan Bielsa

  2. Nick says:

    I saw this very same thing in my backyard. One of the birds flew into our window and was killed instantly. 5 other birds just stood around in silence while one of them, seemed to try and wake him up. It was pretty sad. I had never seen anything like that before.

    My dog is pretty good at displaying emotion as well. I think we all have some semblance of souls. Do you think that these displays of emotion are an indicator of existentialism?

  3. Nae says:

    That is just beautiful.

  4. helo says:

    Oh this is so sad but it proves that animals really do have feelings. just like the vidoe of Christian the lion, and the dog that goes on a busy highway to save antoher dog who was hit by a car

  5. Sharon says:

    This is so truely beautiful and sad at the same time, I am crying as I’m typing now. xxx

  6. bob says:

    of course other animals have emotion. emotion is instinct-based. but other animals still can’t make large hadron colliders or cars or holograms or lasers or internetz.

  7. He says:

    So, did she nag him to death?

  8. Bart says:

    This is so sad. Just looking at those two makes me cry. It says a lot about animals that two male birds care so much for each other.
    Just goes to show that homosexuality is accepted more in the animal kingdom then amongst mankind.

  9. girl says:

    why didn’t you help the bird?? it could’ve lived and be with its mate.

  10. Wanda says:

    Well yes they have emotions – if only everyone was aware of this fact, there would be a lot less animal brutality in this world.
    Thank you for putting this out – it is very touching. Hopefully many people get to see this and wake to the reality that animals are actually equal to us and we need to preserve this beautiful planet and all its residents – big and small.

  11. Mark says:

    I’m sending this everyone of those people who don’t give damn about the environment, and of course this proves that we human beings may have feelings, but generally we are a very selfish bunch who don’t really give a damn about anything else except themselves.

  12. Bob Rackliffe says:

    Of course they have enotions! Consideer the canada Geese: They mate for life, and unlike the humans, they mean it!.

  13. dave says:

    this is retarded, it was all in the interest of reproduction/child care. Additionally when birds see a bird of the same species die they will usually screach out as a warning to the other birds around that there is a danger.

  14. Laura says:

    You know what’s funny? That male bird is really just trying to mate with the female as she’s dying. Take it from a ornithologist, that bird is calling mating calls and trying to mate.

  15. Justin says:

    Well this isn’t really surprising considering birds have been found to been one of the few monogamous creatures in the world. The real shocker for most people is that humans are actually in no way naturally monogamous. Society just dictates it. Why do you think we have so many different sexual partners and relationships throughout are lives and now that it’s more socially acceptable divorce rates are so high.

  16. edusan says:

    FAAAKKEE!! that’s obviously photoshopped!! i can tell because the pixels doesn’t align there are varied errors on the lights and shadows and also for seeing quite some shops back in my day.

  17. Fropsi says:

    I’m pretty sure that bird is just trying to mate with the corpse.

  18. Lorelei says:

    Animals, as well as humans, are echoes of their Creator… how could anything in creation not have at least some echo of God?

  19. Bob says:

    I think he’s just frustrated because he’s obviously trying to mate with her and getting no response.

  20. Susana says:

    This is beautiful, thank you for posting it. Anyone who denies emotions exist in animals haven’t spent much time observing them.

  21. john says:

    ANIMALS ARE JUST AS GOOD,IF NOT BETTER THAN HUMANS.we should ask ourselves if humans have enough emotion

  22. breeze says:

    “of course other animals have emotion. emotion is instinct-based. but other animals still can’t make large hadron colliders or cars or holograms or lasers or internetz.”

    God gave all of His creatures the ability to feel & love – He just gave the smartest of His creations the ability not to care…

  23. Seolyk says:

    They’re both male, one probably killed the other

  24. PeteY says:

    Here’s what really happened…

    PIC 1: (Bird 1) OMG I’m hurt, somebody help me…

    PIC 2: (Bird 1) Hey!, who the hell are you? (Bird 2) Give me your wallet and phone b****!

    PIC 3: (Bird 2) I said, give it to me now! (Bird 1) gef offfme, I haff nofink!

    PIC 4: (Bird 2) I’ll freaking kill you! Take that!


    PIC 6: (Bird 2) mmm’ that sparrow looks like it’s cashed up… and it has an iPhone…

  25. Don't think so says:

    How can you presume emotion and what that emotion might be in a BIRD. There is no way you can read its MIND? or its “facial” features or anything by these pictures. Don’t be foolish

  26. John says:

    Man, thats one heart breakin story!
    Surely love and affection arises for those who stay with us.
    This proves that the strong affection is not only eminent in humans!

  27. Laura says:

    The bird could have just not have understood the bird was dead. You can’t see sadness on his face.

  28. jaffa-mans says:

    “why didn’t you help the bird?? it could’ve lived and be with its mate.” try reading the article.

  29. ror says:

    Aren’t they both males? The bird looks aggressive in some of the photos. I think a lot of these commentors 1) know nothing about birds, 2) are overly sentimental and want to see animals as anthropomorphic friends. Seriously, some of the comments are truly sickening. Far too over the top.

  30. Interested, arguing, but not with malice says:

    It looks like the one bird killed the other instead. Why do rats turn on a dead rat in the same vicinity and gnaw through its skull to eat its brain? I think in all cases there will be events that look like compassion, but really are just a random occurance, just as much as there are animal to animal events that appear very brutal. Keep your eyes open to all of it. Don’t blind yourself to events that go against your theory and focus only on those that support it. Be open to all theories and take an entirely objective standpoint. Assume nothing and investigate everything you are able to for yourself.

  31. tim says:

    animals only act in the emotional realm, fear, anger, love…..it is in the rational thought that animals are less than human.
    …except for my lab, who learned how to open the refrig door…

  32. Martin says:

    I saw a very similar thing with 2 house martins in Scotland. One had been hit by a car, and the mate sat and sat and flew around the body for a long time, I drove home and it was still there. In the end I went down with my little boy and took the bird away and we buried it in our garden. The next year for the first time, 2 built a nest on the gable of my house..

  33. MP9 says:

    Post 16, Edusan, that joke is really,really very old already. it might have been funny for a week or so, possibly… but well done for being the first though – hopefully it made you happy for a second or so though.

  34. Megan says:

    I didn’t read anything except the fatal injury bit, so I just assumed the bird came down and rape-killed the other. Which is way funnier than euthanasia.

  35. Daniel says:

    This looks like the other bird is trying to kill of the dying bird, it’s not nice/sad.

  36. Tom says:

    OMG, what a tear jerker.

  37. Risa says:

    I saw this once about 11 years ago with a couple of turkeys. One got hit by a car and the other one wouldn’t leave its side until my father-in-law took the dead turkey to where they both came from. The live mate made such a HORRIBLE sorrowful sound, I will never forget it..
    Whoever says animals don’t have feelings has severe problems.

  38. Brian says:

    I think it’s in our nature to perceive this kind of behavior as “emotional” in a human sense… It’s probably just more about preservation. Squawking and displaying feathers is probably just an instinctive behavior to ward of predators and warn of danger. I don’t think the bird was in “mourning” the way we think of it.

  39. Liz says:

    WHY DIDNT THE PHOTOGRAPHER PICK UP THE BIRD AND TAKE IT TO A VET?? Despicable, disgusting, horrible, horrible. What a terrible person- how ironic to talk about the beauty of their love when the photographer could have taken their chance to help, to at least try! But noooo, the story was better, the money was better to just take the pictures… AWFUL.

  40. Me says:

    DAVE I don’t know if a crab has feelings, but birds and mammals definitely do and if you take two seconds out of your day to look at the animals around you you’d know that.

  41. Me says:

    Justin: somewhat true, but mostly you’re just happy to find an excuse to explain the way you feel. Christ, you don’t have to justify yourself that way. Both practices are common then and now, and you can pick, you have that right- quit trying to be “right”

  42. TrailHacker says:

    About thirty years ago I saw a similar thing. The car in front of me hit a bird in the road. The bird lay in the road dying. I stopped so not to run it over. The birds mate flew down in a very agitated state, screaming and squawking. It tried to get the other bird to fly off with it. Some other birds came and tried to get the second bird to get out of the road and go with them. It made a big impression on me. Why do people think that we are so different from all the other animals around us?

  43. cassandra says:

    ok, so I just bawled my eyes out. this is absolutely beautiful and I absolutely love it. thankyou.

  44. Headonshoulders says:

    Seems like a copulation attempt to me. The world is not a Disney movie nor is it made of rainbows and lollipops.

  45. gina94984 says:

    far too often the “expert” tells us one thing when anyone who has spent time with animals can and should tell us something different. animals have feelings and just because it may not correlate evenly with humans does not erase that fact. this little creature will go on with it’s life in time and find another mate, true, but this is what happens with people, too. so sad, but i’m glad it has been shown. perhaps the world will become a teeny bit more compassionate. small things add up.

  46. nate says:

    humans are the only ones with enough flawed intelligence to think that they are the center of the universe or sole source of all emotion and thought

  47. Mike says:

    Anthropomorphization: is the attribution of uniquely human characteristics to non-human creatures and beings, natural and supernatural phenomena, material states and objects or abstract concepts. Subjects for anthropomorphism commonly include animals and plants depicted as creatures with human motivation able to reason and converse, forces of nature such as winds or the sun, components in games, unseen or unknown sources of chance, etc. Almost anything can be subject to anthropomorphism. The term derives from a combination of Greek ἄνθρωπος (anthrōpos), human and μορφή (morphē), shape or form.

    Humans seem to have an innate capacity to project human characteristics in this way. Evidence from art and artifacts suggests it is a long-held propensity that can be dated back to earliest times. It is strongly associated with the art of storytelling where it also appears to have ancient roots. Most cultures possess a long-standing fable tradition with anthropomorphised animals as characters that can stand as commonly recognised types of human behaviour. The use of such literature to draw moral conclusions can be highly complex.

    Within these terms, humans have more recently been identified as having an equivalent opposite propensity to deny common traits with other species – most particularly apes – as part of a feeling that humans are unique and special. This tendency has been referred to as Anthropodenial by primatologist Frans de Waal.

  48. steve farley says:

    this is a real photo so get real to those who say killing etc.

  49. Brandy says:

    They are either both males or the one is mating with the other. I’m not going to say that animals don’t have emotions, I think they do. But this is not one of those times. And only SOME birds mate for life, not all.

  50. Bobby says:

    That goes to show people should realize animals have a lot of the same feelings as people.