It's happening again.

With the holiday season nearly upon us my thoughts are turning to my family and my lovely home in the South Pacific. It's quite an interesting place, that New Zealand a.k.a Aotearoa, meaning "land of the long white cloud," and for quite some time it's interestingness was a bit of a secret.

Since parting from supercontinent Gondwanaland 80 million years ago, it steered away from other landmasses (wheeee!) and well out into the Pacific, beginning the longest period of isolation of any non-polar landmass on earth. This remoteness allowed evolution on land to take an eccentric course. Plants, animals and ecosystems developed that are so distinctive, New Zealand is like an island ‘Ark’ – it has a high percentage of native species that are found nowhere else. By comparison, Great Britain, which separated from continental Europe only 10,000 years ago, has only two endemic species – one animal and one plant.

Birdland - limited edition print

So, who was hanging out on the ark all those many years ago? Well, because of the timing of the split (dinosaur time), New Zealand evolved pretty much without any mammals. Apart from some lizards and insects it was basically one big non-stop bird party. Without predators birds flourished - when there's no one around to eat you or your babies you can nest on the ground and heck, you don't even really need wings! Most notable is the evolution of the flightless bird which became our beloved national bird, the Kiwi.*

Birdland's a picture I created when I was thinking how lovely the forest must have sounded all those many years ago...

I might just be making it downunder for the holidays this year! Yeehaaa! I'm curious, have you started your holiday shopping and/or holiday making/re-gifting yet?? Would getting a gift for free start the ball rolling for you? Of course it would! Enjoy the beautifully written, sensitive reviews at Wishing Willow and win at the same time!

PSSSSST! It's my work getting the spa treatment over at Wishing Willow today!!!

* It never ceases to amuse me that the United States got the Bald Eagle and we have the small, brown, flightless, half-blind, nocturnal Kiwi as our national bird!

For more information about the prehistory on NZ see this page. Oh yeah!


cindy said...

Hooray for the bird party, those little kiwis are just the cutest, I am slightly biased though since my NZ husband always goes by "the kiwi"

Mee a Bee said...

This is great!

I finally framed your Weird Hair print this week. It looks soooooo cool in my hall in a dark brown frame. Before it was clipped up next to my desk on clip on fishing wire - big improvement now.

What an excellent write up at Wishing Willows, very insightful. They really studied your work.

PS. I'm almost done with my shopping, lots of handmade this year. Sending it all back with mum, she goes back to NZ next week.

Cathy said...

Love the bright and cheerful birdland image. Your colours are really inspiring. Nice write up at Wishing Willows too and great to see a blog I hadn't come across before. My nephew and his wife spent nearly a year travelling around NZ and they loved it to bits. Hope you are able to get home at Christmas.

Lysa said...

This is beautiful! I love the colors and the story behind it. My husband and in-laws all have a fascination with New Zealand. hmmm...maybe I found their xmas present. :)

glorydaze said...

Oh I love this print, and the story that goes with it. And I would very much like to be invited to a bird party!

sol y sombra creations said...

I love finding all that out...My dad always tells me wonderful tales of New Zealand...He lived there for a time in high school and I've always had dreams of going someday!
As Always..Love your birds!!!!

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