It’s believed the machine was built 120 years ago in Paris by Blaise Bontems, a well-known maker of bird automata and was recently refurbished by Michael Start over at The House of Automata.
Singing bird boxes were extremely popular in Europe starting from the 18th century, first as a toy for a privileged few and then later as a more affordable item. Watch this video from The British Clockmaker Ray Bates to see how the bird fit in with the box’s innerworkings:
And below, HD video of a singing bird box made by Jaquet-Droz & Leschot, Switzerland circa 1785:
This is one of the kids’ favorite moments in Cape, an episode of the BBC series Africa: springboks pronking, or leaping high into the air — up to 13 feet!
In Afrikaans and Dutch, to “pronk” is to show off, though the reason that springboks pronk is not known definitively. They could be excited, agitated, exercising, spreading their individual scents, or showing off their fitness either for predators or rivals within the herd. Any which way, it’s fun to watch.
This is a flannel moth caterpillar, or Megalopyge opercularis, walking on a tree inthe Ucayali Amazon basin, north of Pucallpa in Peru. The video, filmed by Ollie Boon, showcases the caterpillar’s cute and furry looking exterior, but be warned that there are venomous spines hiding within the fluff!