This example of construction worker humor — a work glove in a concrete washout pan — made me think of how to document humorous situations in nature. We can take pictures of animals in odd poses and then enhance them with funny captions. But this kind of humor often comes at the expense of the animals we depict. Instead of humor we show ridicule.

This would be such an image. The very large Great blue heron is a graceful bird, but it’s hard to look elegant when landing such a big physical frame.

I have taken pictures of birds that I find funny in a more gentle way. They show the birds’ beauty without exposing them to human ridicule (I hope). The first is this Tricolored heron:

This is one of my favorite images. It shows the bird’s elegance, but it’s so expressive and funny without exposing the heron to ridicule. My sense is that it is aware of his (or her?) own beauty.

This Black vulture is a more recent image. He looks so polite and gentle — not exactly what we think of when we see vultures. He was sitting at the top of a tree, minding his own business, and then noticed me below and looked at me. I guess humor is in the eye of the beholder, but this image is a good example in my view.

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