From So Simple a Beginning: One Planet, 243 Families, 375 Million Years

The Wall of Birds Project at the Cornell's Lab of Ornithology visitor's center is a one-of-a-kind celebration of the dazzling variety of forms and colors in birds, as well as the evolutionary forces that brought them into being. Envisioned by Cornell Lab ornithologists to showcase biodiversity and evolutionary change, the mural features 271 species from all surviving bird families accompanied by a ghostly parade of extinct ancestors. The mural's title, “From So Simple a Beginning,” tips its hat to Charles Darwin and a passage he used to sum up his view of evolution in The Origin of Species:

There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning, endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.

Artist Jane Kim and her colleagues from Ink Dwell studio will complete the mural in November, and it will be accessible as an online interactive on the All About Bird Biology project. Viewers will be able to explore the mural through high-resolution images, learn the basics about each of the bird families of the world, and explore collections of some of the most impressive and outrageous birds in the world. Follow The Wall of Birds Project.