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Welcome to the Pine River Review. Our sight is dedicated to our little homestead located along the Pine River tucked inside the Chippewa Nature Center's 1400 Acres of wild in Michigan's lower penninsula. We love to share our pictures, video, comment, and our own homespun music. Step inside our world as we celebrate this beautiful nook!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

World Bird Wednesday XXIX

                                            Cute as a ...

Why is cute, cute? Cute is one of those things that you instantly recognise like this little Mute swan cygnet bobbing about in a pond, but if you were pressed to define cute could you really do it? What is the origin of cute? How is it that the human animal has an acute, innate sense of what is cute and not cute? Is there an evolutionary imperative driving this curious "knowing" that we seem to share? I distinctly remember back in kindergarten knowing who the cute ones were. This switch is apparently flipped very early in life. What we're talking about here, I suppose, is a softer, more innocent, less complicated version of beautiful. So when does cute change into beautiful? Certainly the mother swan is beautiful and not cute even though other than size there's not a heck of a lot of difference between the adult and the adorable little versions. Puzzling isn't it?

         It seems that most everyone craves cuteness. And why not? Cuteness has its privileges like the adoring attention it attracts by the boatloads and the power inherent there in. It'll get you out of a ticket faster than butt ugly any day of the week. If your not cute it doesn't hurt to have a puppy in tow to attract the "Oh, how adorable," reaction that can reflect well on you and bump up your cuteness quotient significantly.

And then there's homely like this Canadian gosling. Pity the poor thing, a couple of weeks ago it was a different story. Cuteness can be fickle and like a candle in the wind, flicker, fade and vanish into the abstract body shapes of the half grown. If your cute, enjoy it while you can.
Like anything, cuteness can be taken to far just as to much sugar in your coffee can make you gag. Consider Norman Rockwell's stellar career painting nostalgic covers for The Saturday Evening Post. Even given the genius of his technique Mr. Rockwell was never taken seriously as a painter because of his saccharine subject matter. He would have been better off, in terms of critical acclaim, painting Campbell's soup cans ala Andy Warhol.
Lesson learned: Don't get caught being to cute if you want to be taken seriously!

                                    These little mallard ducklings are sooooo cute, don't cha luv 'em!

Not cute. I include this vulture picture to cleanse your palette. That much sweetness isn't good for anybody!

         Now it's time for World Bird Wednesday!
This is the home of World Bird Wednesday. A place for bird photographers from around the world to gather and share their photographs and experiences as they pursue Natures most diverse and beautiful treasurers, the birds.

World Bird Wednesday will be open for posting at 12 noon Tuesday EST North America through midnight on Wednesday.
You are invited to link your blog with other bird photographers in a weekly celebration of these most diverse and intriguing of Earth's residents.

                                                CLICK THIS PICTURE!

#1. Simply copy the above picture onto your W.B.W. blog entry. It contains a link for your readers to share in WBW. Or you can copy this link on to your blog page to share W.B.W.

#2. Come to The Pine River Review on Tuesday Noon EST North America through Wednesday midnight and submit your blog entry with Linky.

#3. Check back in during the course of the next day and explore these excellent photoblogs!

You don't have to be a Bird Watcher or expert photographer to join in--just enjoy sharing what you bring back from your explorations and adventures into nature.The idea of a meme is that you will visit each others blogs and perhaps leave a comment to encourage your compadres!

        The thumbnails below are links to our contributors blogs. Click on them and view their beautiful posts.
                                               Come on it's your turn!


  1. Oh you had me laughing!!!! I've been known as 'cute' my whole life - not beautiful, not sexy - CUTE! these days, i'm getting old so would love to still be CUTE!!! ha!

    those are adorable shots - all of them. even awkward teen and 'ugly' buzzard...

  2. Really great post, and the turkey vulture to "cleanse my palate" literally had me laughing out loud. Great stuff Springman, and I enjoyed all of the cute images, even if I can't put my finger on why they are so adorable!

  3. I thought all cygnets were supposed to be ugly ducklings first:-)
    These are oozing cuteness. Really perfect.
    BTW, are all these taken with the lens you hired for your Florida holidays? Such clarity.
    I have never experienced cute, but I'm sure it helps. Well, there are other strategies :-)

  4. Ahh, Cute! How could we live without it!
    Excellent shots! I love them all, cute or not

  5. Greetings! Linky gave me a good scare this morning as they work the kinks out of there new version. I am relieved to see it is up for posting. Whew.
    Joco, These pictures were taken with my trusty 400mm 5.6L lens earlier this week on Belle Isle in the Detroit river except for the vulture pic which is a month and a half old. I sure wish I had that 70-300 L lens I rented for the Florida trip, it was phenomenal.

  6. The little swans and mallards are absolutely cute, but the not so cute and more exotic red-headed vulture really caught my attention. All shots are amazing as usual, Springman!

  7. The mute swan cygnet is adooooorable!!! I didn't even know such a cuteness factor existed amongst birds, he is just STUNNINGLY cute!!! :-D

  8. So glad you included the turkey vulture. Those first photos definitely were cute.....and maybe to some the turkey vulture is too, but in some ways his photo was like a reality check. I love your shot of the baby mallards.

  9. first: the entry no 13 is wrong. For some reason too many photos were to chose from. :( Photo is CR and link sweden.

    Cute as can be. Great shots of the chicks. I will soon have Crested Grebe. :)

  10. Beautiful! Even the vulture. :)

  11. You had me at that first image - the epitome of cuteness!
    I know I've mentioned before how much I love your writing and sense of humor. You have outdone yourself today.
    You started me out smiling and left me laughing.
    Wonderful post - EXCELLENT photos to tell the story.
    Have a great day!

  12. Got you covered NF. Thats just like 13!

  13. That first shot IS cute! A real beauty.

  14. They are all so cute. It's funny that we are so far away from each other but sometimes we see the same things.

  15. You got me laughing to :)) They are so cute, love those small babybirds, I wish I could get that close... And you are right, the last one is not cute, but an interesting bird anyway :)

  16. Beautiful youngsters...your images are stunning.
    The last image really made me smile...
    A lovely post.

  17. OH the Cuteness needle just went all the way to "TOO CUTE FOR WORDS"--awww just want to have a kuddle with these guys--BUT OUCH old buzzard brought us right back to the reality of the lines drawn between cute and necessary! Awesome insight--
    I'm gonna pull something outta the hat~~~ wonder what it might be??

  18. What wonderful photos and entertaining story!

  19. Cute, adorable, and a face only a mother could love. Fantastic captures Springman!

  20. A great post Springman. I was going to say what a cute post but I have to save "cute" for my comment on the cute and adorable baby swan photo. I have not seen a baby swan, thanks for sharing these cuties. I loved all your photos even the old goosling and vulture.

  21. Great photos Springman. Lovely lighting in all of them

  22. These are amazing photos! The cygnets, the ducklings and,yes, the gosling too, are all adorable. Even the Vulture has some handsome features (feathers?). I enjoyed this post very much.

  23. Cute is what makes you go aaawwwwhhhh and smile and feel good all the rest of the day. I think it's the fuzzy factor that tips the balance to baby swan = cute and mama swan = not.

    I didn't get my bird photo posted for today, but I'm going to enjoy all the others instead. :)

  24. Great captures of some very adorable youngsters.

  25. Hi there - interesting post and splendid images - especially the two mallard chicks.

    I think cute is an interesting concept and the idea that we are "hard wired" to find it as well. I wonder if it comes from the ability to see a new thing (that could be food!) and work out if it’s going to bite you or not? Small duck = cute, small snake = not! Also think its interesting the way we play with "cute" in the media - Tweety Pie is cute, but I always end up cheering for Sylvester!

    Cheers - Stewart M

  26. Springman, This is a very insightful study on Cute. It is very thought provoking. You have provided excellent visuals as well.
    Dang if you aren't the cute one.:-D)

  27. Cuteness somehow is dependant on innocence. It is fun to go into the intrinsic meanings of everyday words -:).
    Your birds are both cute and beautiful. The Mute Swan with cygnets reminds me of polar bears. A very beautiful capture indeed.

    Sorry about my double sign in, blogger did not appear to accept the first one. I have a lot of fun with our slow internet and blogger's antics.

  28. These ducklings are so cute! Beautiful post.
    Have a nice day:)

  29. Beautiful captures. Really cute. Great work as always.

  30. Great pics! They are really beautiful. I accidently posted two times, sorry:(

  31. Suzanne ColletteJune 8, 2011 at 8:36 AM

    Cute as a button

  32. Thank you for your comment.
    The pigeon on the balcony was happy as long as we stayed in Poland. We did not disturb her, except from giving water and food.
    Went back to Norway on Saturday and we hope she is doing fine.

  33. very thought provoking!you always make me smile,love all the pictures,but especially the vulture,I think he is particually cute!phyllis

  34. Another excellent post Dave! Cuteness is interesting to explore for sure. I think Arija is right, I think cuteness is connected to innocence.

    Love all the cute bird photos but I love the Turkey Vulture showing those telltale white feet. That will cleanse your palate all right!

    I missed this edition of WBW because I have been so darn busy during nesting season.

    I want to take this opportunity to apologize to all the great folks that post on WBW for not being able to get around to everyone to comment on all your excellent posts each week.

    This is a wonderful weekly exposition of super bird photos and writing by a great group of people, sponsored by one of the best, Dave Springman. Thanks again David!

  35. Lovely post! I am so happy you are adding some important thoughts to reflect on. And your pictures! You are the best!

  36. Lovely post.
    It seems like I missed the boat for the Mr Linky thing. Such is life.

    Have a nice day, Boonie

  37. Love your cute cygnet and ducklings and enjoyed reading your musings on "cute". I had a post on the "Cute Factor" in 11/10 - interesting subject since "cute" both repels when it's too saccharine and attracts when it refers to a childlike innocence.

  38. Wonderful series of photos! I love the little gosling myself! Interesting points you bring up. I posted for WBW myself but got the time limits mixed up so missed out on linking up. Anyway, stop by if you feel like it. Once again, a wonderful post!

  39. A great post Springman! I once read that all babies (human and animal) are cute because otherwise the grownups would kill them...oops!

    There used to be a meme around called 'cute overload' where people would post pix of their adorable kittys and puppies. It was-- as you more nicely put it --enough to make one barf! Too much. Your post has just exactly the right balance (and I like vultures!)

  40. Hi Dave. I'm going to be off-line for a short while and wondered if you could create the necessary links to a couple of posts (already published)for next weeks WBW in my absence?

    Hope you are having a good weekend.
    Cheers Frank.

  41. Thanks to everyone for your insightful thoughts on cuteness.I am very appreciative. I'm glad you were as fascinated with the idea as I was. I suppose examining most anything through an existential lens will make for interesting and somewhat confusing reflections. Again, thanks for providing so many thought provoking solutions to my musings. That was a whole lot of fun!
    P.S. Got you covered Frank!

  42. You got photos of very white cygnets. I just saw some yesterday and they were greyish. Anyways: wonderful photos.

  43. I think cute brings a silly smile to your face, where beauty creates an entirely other emotion. Beauty can be many things - power, symmetry, awe inspiring - but you never give it a silly smile.
    Love the egret in your header!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  44. Wonderful birds!!!