Laura Bliss is CityLab’s West Coast bureau chief. She also writes MapLab, a biweekly newsletter about maps (subscribe here). Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, Sierra, GOOD, Los Angeles, and elsewhere, including in the book The Future of Transportation.
To mark the 50th anniversary of the "Red List" of endangered species, a white-tailed eagle with a GoPro captured swooping views of London.
Drone photography already feels sort of passé, right? This year, everyone from Martha Stewart to the very paparazzi that might one day follow her around got into taking overhead shots with their robotic mini-planes.
Much more fresh are these three videos that take the bird's-eye view concept back to its roots. Meaning back to birds. Earlier this month, French falconer Jacques-Olivier Travers mounted a Go-Pro camera to the back of a trusty white-tailed eagle to capture aerial views of London, including the Tower Bridge, St. Paul’s cathedral, and the Olympic park's "Orbit" sculpture.
The videos are part of "Here Today," a exhibition opening next week in London that commemorates the fiftieth anniversary of the IUCN Red List, the comprehensive catalogue of the world's most endangered plants and animals. With works from more than 50 artists across disciplines, the exhibition examines the condition of the environment and possible solutions to its ills.
“It’s not all doom and gloom," Dea Flanagan, one of Here Today’s curators, told The Guardian. "We have to celebrate success stories as well.”
White-tailed eagles are one of those. Once listed by the IUCN as "near threatened," reintroduction programs have boosted the Eurasian bird's numbers substantially enough that it's now a species of "least concern."
Which is great news for those of us bored with drone photography. And for the bird's native ecosystem. And for the state of global biodiversity. Go, eagles!