Bing Wallpaper Gallery
Nov 4, 2020
Caribou on the move
Each fall a quarter-million caribou come together to form the Western Arctic Caribou Herd, a group that makes an epic migration through northwest Alaska. The caribou move south from their calving grounds in the Utukok River Uplands to their winter range on the Seward Peninsula. Fall is also the time when scientists attach radio collars to members of the herd, to track their location and health, and to gain information that will help conserve the species. When spring arrives, the caribou will complete the trip again in reverse, covering a total of 2,000 miles each year, give or take.
Nov 3, 2020
It"s Election Day, so if you"re eligible to vote but haven"t already voted, stop reading this and go cast your ballot. In 1845, Congress decided that general elections of federal public officials would be held on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November. Why a Tuesday? In the 1800s, most citizens worked as farmers and lived far from their polling places, so they needed a day or two to travel. Many Americans went to church on Sunday, and Wednesday was their day at the market. So, Tuesday was the most practical.
Nov 2, 2020
Waiting for winter
These polar bears seem to be just as happy as we are to visit Torngat Mountains National Park today. Located in Canada at the tip of the Labrador Peninsula and bordering the Labrador Sea, the park is accessible only by boat, charter plane, or helicopter. The name "Torngat" comes from the Inuktitut word "Tongait," meaning "place of spirits." The Inuit have lived here for centuries and still fish and hunt across the wide tundra valleys where these polar bears roam. This time of year, polar bears are waiting for the sea ice to form so they can venture out onto the Labrador Sea to hunt for seals.
Nov 1, 2020
Native American Heritage Month
Here in the Volcanic Tablelands near Bishop, California, is Sky Rock, a set of ancient petroglyphs that face the heavens. The volcanic rock formations of this area have made it a premier rock-climbing destination. But long before sport climbers flocked here, it was (and still is) home to the Paiute-Shoshone peoples, who are thought to have created these petroglyphs and many others throughout the tablelands.
Oct 31, 2020
Twas a night just like tonight…
In the late 18th century, a wealthy landowner built an estate in County Antrim in what is now Northern Ireland. To make a scenic but imposing entryway, he had 150 beech trees planted on either side of the road (90 trees survive). The trees grew to form the Dark Hedges—an arboreal tunnel leading up to the property. In the right conditions—say a gloomy autumn night with the moonlight casting shadows through the tree canopy—this road can be a little spooky.
Oct 30, 2020
Who s there? The largest owl in the world
To get us in the Halloween mood, we"re offering a seldom-seen sight—the Blakiston"s fish owl. Considered the largest of all living owls—about the size of a fire hydrant with a 6-foot wingspan—it"s among the rarest of owls, too. Experts estimate only a few thousand of these elusive birds remain, scattered in pockets of dense old-growth forests in northern Japan, the Russian Far East, northeastern China, and potentially North Korea.
Oct 29, 2020
Let s get lost
Welcome to Mazezilla! This 11-acre corn maze in the Poconos region of Pennsylvania boasts a unique design each fall. Don"t worry, if you take a wrong turn, you won"t be lost forever. "Corn helpers" are scattered throughout the maze to help confused maze-goers find their way again, and "tower people" keep a watchful eye over them. This year, visitors to the maze are asked to wear masks, stay at least 6 feet apart, and take other precautions, but organizers are still promising a "spooktacular 2020."
Oct 28, 2020
A grotesque scene
"Goofy" might be a better descriptor, but these seabird statues lining an outer wall of an Ecuadorian cathedral are called "grotesques"—the architectural term for a statue ornamenting the side of a building. But hang on…don"t we call those "gargoyles"? Not exactly. Gargoyles are simply grotesques that boast a specific, practical feature: spouts that convey water from rain gutters away from the building.
Oct 27, 2020
A bridge of Madison County
Framed here for the season by fall foliage, the Cambron Covered Bridge is located along a nature trail in Madison County, *Alabama*—not Iowa, which is the setting of the bestselling romance novel "The Bridges of Madison County." It"s believed there were once about 14,000 covered bridges in the US, but fewer than 900 or so remain today, a quarter of which can be found in Pennsylvania. But Alabama has covered-bridge bragging rights, too. The state has 11 historic covered bridges. Built in 1974, the Cambron Covered Bridge doesn"t make the official "historic" list, but it does offer hikers a peaceful passageway with great views of Sky Lake.
Oct 26, 2020
Corfe gets creepy
Spying the crooked silhouette of Corfe Castle above the rolling, foggy hills of Dorset, England, you might not guess at the ruin"s former palatial beauty—you"ll more likely sense its long history of intrigue, and maybe feel a chill down your spine.
Oct 25, 2020
A most sincere pumpkin patch
Ah, the perennial pumpkin patch. You might think the round orange gourds in today"s photo are vegetables, but botanists say pumpkins are actually the fruit of pumpkin vines. They"re considered fruit because pumpkins contain seeds and grow from the same part of the plant that produces flowers. And now, as Halloween nears, pumpkins are ripe for picking and carving into spooky jack-o"-lanterns.
Oct 24, 2020
75 years of the United Nations
We"re looking at the New York City skyline with the UN"s headquarters in the middle for United Nations Day, marking the anniversary of the date when the UN Charter entered into force. This year is a milestone 75th anniversary of the United Nations, which replaced the League of Nations as the world"s largest and most powerful intergovernmental organization. To mark the occasion, the UN launched its UN75 global dialogue initiative in January, and discussions have taken place around the world in settings ranging from classrooms to the UN General Assembly. COVID-19 has made some of these events a logistical challenge, but it"s also highlighted the need for countries to work together to face global issues. The UN website allows anyone to participate, with tool kits for dialogue, issues briefs, and other resources.
Oct 23, 2020
Saskatchewan s spookier side
If you"re greeted by a friendly face and a warm "Welcome to Bents" as you stroll up to this old general store, you might be having a paranormal experience: It"s been 50 years since a living soul dwelt in this Saskatchewan ghost town.
Oct 22, 2020
Moving as one
After the nesting and breeding seasons of spring and summer have passed, starlings become highly social birds, often gathering in flocks that number in the thousands. These flocks sometimes take the form of a murmuration—when the birds form a group large and dense enough that they appear to move together as a single organism, even if the movements seem arbitrary. Though scientists still don"t quite understand how the individual starlings in a murmuration coordinate their tight, fluid formations, the behavior is thought to be a way to confuse predators.
Oct 21, 2020
Does this chameleon look a little insecure?
If it appears to be slinking away from the camera, maybe this chameleon is all too aware of the way some of us humanfolk see reptiles: as frightening at best, disgusting at worst. We know you die-hard reptile lovers are out there too, but it"s undeniable that reptiles" reputation among people has suffered thanks to popular villainous depictions—from "Anaconda" and "Godzilla" to the serpent encountered by Adam and Eve. Even our everyday language throws shade on this vast class of critters: When"s the last time you called someone "reptile" and meant it nicely?
Oct 20, 2020
Reflecting on fall
Some of the best things about fall in many parts of the country are the amazing colorful displays across the landscape. While the trees here in Beaver Lake Nature Center, near Syracuse, New York, are already bare, the autumn ferns cast a radiant reflection on the water. This 661-acre natural area contains a 200-acre glacial lake that draws migrating Canada geese to its shores. Visitors may also see more than 200 other species of birds and over 800 varieties of plants. The nature center is a destination for cross-country skiing in the winter, while the summer months are popular for kayaking and canoeing.
Oct 19, 2020
A cliff-hanging complex of temples
Feast your eyes on the colorful Mati Si (Horse"s Hoof Temple) and its cliffside complex of sandstone grottoes and wooden pavilions. An indentation in the sandstone provides a clue to the mythical origin of the temple. One legend has it that a frightened longma—a winged dragon horse—visited here thousands of years ago and left its hoof mark in the rock as it landed. What you can"t see in our homepage image is the narrow network of tunnels cut into the cliff, connecting the seven floors and multiple grottoes to the Mati Si pagoda, which is 200 feet high and holds hundreds of Buddha statues.
Oct 18, 2020
Sitka shines on Alaska Day
In honor of Alaska Day, we"re in the harbor of Sitka, Alaska, which was the capital of Russian America in the 19th century, when it was called Novo-Arkhangelsk. It was here on this day in 1867 that officials of the Russian Empire formally transferred the Territory of Alaska to the United States in a sale for $7.2 million, or just around 2 cents per acre. It seems an astonishingly small price today, but at the time, opponents called it "Seward"s Folly" after then-Secretary of State William H. Seward, who negotiated the deal. Few Americans moved to the "Last Frontier" at first, but in the 1890s, when gold was discovered in the Yukon and Alaska, a rush of prospectors and others began a wave of settlers in the territory. Ever since, Alaska, with its vast natural resources and staggering beauty, has been a prized American domain and an enduring symbol of American wilderness.
Oct 17, 2020
Fog above the forest
Today we"re looking out over Pisgah National Forest, which was established on this day in 1916. One of the first national forests established in the eastern United States, it comprises more than 500,000 acres of mountainous peaks, cascading waterfalls, and heavily forested slopes. With hundreds of miles of trails, Pisgah is a popular place for hiking, backpacking, road biking, mountain biking, fishing, and rock climbing.
Oct 16, 2020
It s harvest time on World Food Day
This tractor is transporting trailers full of one of the world"s most versatile veggies: cabbage. A stalwart in Slavic recipes, a key ingredient in Korean kimchi, and essential to that sauerkraut on your ballpark dog, it"s the perfect cosmopolitan crop to represent World Food Day.
Oct 15, 2020
A star is borne by seaweed
With a little "kelp," this starfish is enjoying a change from its typical view of craggy tidal beds. Both passenger and vehicle in this photo, taken off California"s coast, play important roles in their ecosystems.
Oct 14, 2020
In praise of the old…the very old
What better way to honor National Fossil Day than with this amazing dragonfly! It"s rare to find one in such exquisite condition, but this one was discovered in Solnhofen, Germany, where limestone deposits preserved some of the most detailed fossils ever found—including the birdlike dinosaur called Archaeopteryx. This dragonfly was preserved in the Solnhofen limestone about 150 million years ago in the Jurassic Period. It measures about 5.5 inches across.
Oct 13, 2020
Where can you find a red fox?
The biggest of all fox species, the red fox lives in many different habitats around the world, including forests, grasslands, deserts, and mountains. This fox is in the Netherlands, but red foxes can be found throughout most of Europe, as well as in temperate Asia, North Africa, and North America. A male fox is called a dog, and the female a vixen. A young fox is a kit, cub, or pup. Foxes live in groups called skulks. The red fox"s tail accounts for about a third of its length, and it can serve as a blanket, as well as a flag the fox raises to communicate with other foxes.
Oct 12, 2020
Indigenous Peoples Day
With this image of totem poles, carved and erected by Haida people in British Columbia, Canada, we"re touching on two important events in North America today, one in the United States and the other in Canada. In the US, an increasing number of Americans observe the second Monday in October as Indigenous Peoples Day, a celebration of Native American peoples and an implicit (and sometimes explicit) critique of the Columbus Day holiday. Observations of Indigenous Peoples Day reflect an effort to honor the tribes, nations, and cultures that existed in North America before the arrival of European settlers and have endured since then.
Oct 11, 2020
A monastery in the mountain
Built into the side of a mountain in the Azat Valley of Armenia, the monastery of Geghard is one of the most-visited tourist destinations in the country. The location of the monastery has been inhabited for millennia and venerated by locals since the pre-Christian era due to the spring which emanates from one of the caves in the mountainside. The monastery was originally founded in the 4th century by Saint Gregory the Illuminator—the patron saint of the Armenian Apostolic Church—though none of the original buildings survive.