Bing Wallpaper Gallery
Oct 10, 2020
Birds of a feather
Today is World Migratory Bird Day in Latin and South America, so to honor the occasion we"ve chosen these flamingos, rising above the Caribbean Sea off the coast of Venezuela. Changes in daylight hours and food availability can trigger seasonal migrations in many bird species, including flamingos. American flamingos like these will migrate relatively short distances, usually to ensure a steady food supply. Found mainly throughout the Caribbean, their range extends as far north as southern Florida.
Oct 9, 2020
Falling for Tennessee
Although it might not look like it in this image of a tranquil fall day, Roaring Fork in Great Smoky Mountains National Park has earned its ferocious name. The stream descends 2,500 feet over just 2 miles—a steep drop. After heavy rains, Roaring Fork transforms into a whitewater rush, the sound echoing off the mountainsides. But during drier spells, the stream quiets to more of a babbling brook, as seen here along the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail. The popular 5.5-mile loop drive passes waterfalls, well-preserved historic log cabins, and scenic overlooks of a forest that during this time of year reaches its fall color peak, exploding in bold yellows, oranges, and reds. These are just some of the things that make Great Smoky Mountains the most popular national park in the country.
Oct 8, 2020
An underwater rainbow
You might look twice if you passed by this Technicolor sea creature gliding through the ocean water. In celebration of World Octopus Day, we"re marveling at a photograph of the rarely seen blanket octopus, near Palm Beach, Florida. The blanket octopus gets its common name from the sheets of webbing that stretch between some arms of the female, like the one pictured here. When threatened, it spreads out its arms, creating a blanketlike silhouette to intimidate would-be attackers.
Oct 7, 2020
The circular castle of Cornwall
Many generations watched fog roll over this countryside long before the bellicose Norman visitors who built this fortress got the chance. The peninsula of Cornwall has been populated since the Mesolithic period 10,000 years ago, and is one of the traditional Celtic nations—areas of the British Isles and France where the Celts" culture survived Roman, Norman, and other outside influences despite repeated attempts at incursion.
Oct 6, 2020
Xiechi Lake in Yuncheng, China, has such a high level of salinity, it"s sometimes called China"s Dead Sea. But unlike the Dead Sea in the Middle East, Xiechi Lake supports abundant microscopic life: algae and other microorganisms that have a high tolerance for the salt. In summer and autumn, the lake temperature is high enough to spark algae blooms, bringing a variety of intense colors to the lake water.
Oct 5, 2020
Hey, you two in the front!
For World Teachers" Day, we"re taking you to a class of emperor penguin chicks getting a lesson from a couple of wise adults—at least that"s how it looks to us. All kidding aside, the celebration has a special significance this year. Educators dedicate their lives to engaging the minds of young and old alike, all the while sparking curiosity about the world around us. But with in-person classes widely curtailed due to the coronavirus pandemic, many teachers have had to adapt their instruction methods by shifting to remote learning. More than ever we"re grateful for their efforts, including their support to parents who are contributing at home.
Oct 4, 2020
Infrared Jupiter, erupting Io
To celebrate World Space Week, we"re featuring this montage of images of Jupiter courtesy of the New Horizons probe"s flyby of the planet in 2007. If Jupiter looks a little different than you"re used to seeing, it"s because it was imaged using the space probe"s near-infrared imaging spectrometer. In this false-color image, Jupiter"s high-altitude clouds, like its stormy Great Red Spot, are rendered white, while deeper cloud formations take on reddish hues. The planet"s innermost moon, Io, is captured in a true-color composite image during one of its frequent volcanic eruptions. A close look will show lava is glowing red beneath the blue and white plume of particles being ejected into the moon"s thin atmosphere.
Oct 3, 2020
In the belly of Fat Bear Week
In Alaska"s Katmai National Park and Preserve, the "fattening" is under way. Brown bears like our homepage friend are bulking up for the long winter, gathering at Brooks Falls to feast on migrating salmon. The base of the falls is a prime fishing spot because it creates a temporary barrier to salmon jumping upstream. This makes the fish relatively easy pickings for hungry bears, who can catch up to 30 salmon a day.
Oct 2, 2020
A wild and scenic scene
Some of our nation"s most treasured rivers are protected thanks to a program that was first established on this day in 1968. The Wild and Scenic Rivers Act aims to preserve rivers with "outstanding natural, cultural, and recreational values in a free-flowing condition for the enjoyment of present and future generations." That"s something we can get behind.
Oct 1, 2020
A lunar lantern celebration
The Mid-Autumn Festival, or Moon Festival, is a celebration of the autumn harvest observed by the Chinese and other Asian peoples. It falls on the 15th day of the eighth lunar month, the full moon closest to the fall equinox. Originally a plea to the gods for rains to ensure a good harvest next year, Mid-Autumn Festival has become a more secular bit of autumn fun, with children and adults gathering to give thanks, eat sweet mooncakes, and light lanterns like the hand-painted ones we"re looking at here from a previous celebration in Singapore. This year, the Mid-Autumn Festival coincidentally lands on another holiday, China"s National Day.
Sep 30, 2020
All eyes on moths
Quick! Can you find this moth"s head? If the markings on the wings distracted you for a second, score an evolutionary victory for this saturniid moth resting in Mole National Park in Ghana. It"s thought that moths, butterflies, and other creatures use this crafty form of mimicry, called eyespots, to either intimidate predators or draw them to attack less vulnerable parts of the body.
Sep 29, 2020
A crush in Lavaux
The "crush season," aka the grape harvest, has arrived in these picturesque Swiss vineyards. The steeply terraced vineyards of the Lavaux region along Lake Geneva"s northern shore produce grapes for some of the best wine in the country. The vine terraces can be traced back to the 11th century, when Benedictine and Cistercian monasteries controlled the area. A UNESCO World Heritage site since 2007, Lavaux is the largest contiguous vineyard region in Switzerland. It"s known for producing Chasselas wine, a light, delicate white wine that"s considered the ideal pairing with Swiss raclette cheese. Visitors enjoy hiking between the vines and wine tasting at local cellars in the villages along the lakeshore. We"ll toast to that!
Sep 28, 2020
Explorer of the sea
This blue shark is swimming near the Azores, a Portuguese chain of islands about 850 miles west of mainland Portugal. The inspiration for the shark"s name comes from its back color, which can vary from a light blue to a darker shade. Its slender, tapered body is propelled through the water with agility and grace by a long tail fin that sweeps from side to side. Listed as "near threatened," blue sharks are found off the coast of every continent except for Antarctica, making them the most widely distributed of all sharks. Swift and powerful swimmers, blue sharks migrate long distances. It"s common for them to swim 1,200 to 1,700 miles or even farther, following the clockwise currents of the Gulf Stream in search of food, mates, and "just right" water temperatures.
Sep 27, 2020
Take me to the river
Today we"re recognizing World Rivers Day—a conservation event that branched off in 2005 from its source, BC Rivers Day, founded near this British Columbia river"s banks 40 years ago today. The Fraser River flows through a showcase of this Canadian province"s diverse landscape: It originates in the Rocky Mountains, carves steep valleys through central BC, and irrigates rich farmlands outside Vancouver before spilling into the sea just south of the city. The river flows gently in this stretch, as seen from the span of the Port Mann Bridge east of Vancouver, with the Golden Ears mountains in the background. Thanks to preservation efforts, the Fraser"s main stem remains completely undammed, with its drainage basin covering 25% of BC"s land area.
Sep 26, 2020
Wandering Watkins Glen
When we talk about celebrating public lands, the images that pop into our heads are generally icons of the famous national parks out West. Old Faithful, El Capitan, the Arches. Our photo for National Public Lands Day highlights the relatively unsung beauty of the more than 10,000 state parks dotting the nation from coast to coast.
Sep 25, 2020
One for the books
Today is the kickoff to the 20th Library of Congress National Book Festival, and for the first time it will be held entirely online. Nearly 120 authors, including Colson Whitehead, John Grisham, Ann Patchett, Walter Mosley, and Tomi Adeyemi, will appear on virtual stages to discuss the written word from September 25-27.
Sep 24, 2020
Till the cows come home
These stylish cows are decorated to celebrate their annual return from high Alpine pastures to the towns and villages where they spend the winter. Known as the Almabtrieb, the tradition is generally held in late September or early October throughout the Alpine regions of Europe. These cows are in the Tannheimer Tal, a valley of the Allgäu Alps in Austria, where more than 100,000 head of cattle make the seasonal migration.
Sep 23, 2020
A tree of many memories
As autumn takes hold in China, a blanket of fan-shaped golden leaves—like this one at Xuanwu Lake Park in Nanjing—becomes a familiar sight. And it"s been that way for longer than anyone can remember, thanks to a native tree with a lineage going back eons, the ginkgo.
Sep 22, 2020
Happy Hobbit Day
Today is Hobbit Day, marking the anniversary of the "Long-Expected Party," which sets in motion the "Lord of the Rings" book series. September 22 is the birthday of both Bilbo and Frodo Baggins, the protagonists of "The Hobbit" and "The Lord of the Rings" respectively.
Sep 21, 2020
A gentle wind fills this sail
To mark International Day of Peace, we invite you to look closely at the colorful sail in today"s homepage photo. It"s a composite of 120 small panels painted by children from different ethnic and social backgrounds—each panel offers a message of hope for a better world. The Ship of Tolerance is part of an international outreach program created by the Kabakov Foundation that aims "to promote art as a medium for communication and cooperation between diverse cultures while nurturing the growth and development of young artists in all disciplines." Children are taught the importance of understanding others and making friends with those outside their own cultural experiences. You"re looking at an installation that was moored in Lake Zug, Switzerland.
Sep 20, 2020
Celebrating sea otters
Say hello to this mom and newborn pup in Monterey Bay, California, during Sea Otter Awareness Week. Sea otters shower their pups with attention, cradling them and grooming them for hours. But it"s more than a gesture of affection—a mom will rub her pup to fluff the pup"s coat, which causes the fur to retain air bubbles. The air insulates the pup from chilly water and sometimes causes the youngster to float like a cork. Sea otters can survive on land, but they spend most of their time in the water, sleeping above the surface and anchoring themselves with kelp—or by holding onto each other. When they get hungry, they use rocks as tools to hunt food and pry open shells—something that makes them relatively unique, as they"re one of the few animal species that can use tools.
Sep 19, 2020
Arrr, it be Talk Like a Pirate Day
These sailboats in Warnemünde, Germany, set the scene perfectly for International Talk Like a Pirate Day. The holiday (yeah, we"re calling it a holiday) was first imagined in 1995 by two Oregon residents. September 19 was chosen for the annual observance since one of them had an ex-wife whose birthday fell on that day and they figured they could remember it. A few years later, seeking widespread adoption, they pitched the idea to humor columnist Dave Barry, who wrote, "Every now and then, some visionary individuals come along with a concept that is so original and so revolutionary that your immediate reaction is: "Those individuals should be on medication."" From there, it went viral, and these days, September 19 is celebrated internationally, with major brands and media personalities joining in the silliness. We"re fans, too. Just picture us typin" this here with an eye patch, peg leg, an" pocket full o" swag doubloons. Arrr!
Sep 18, 2020
Each September in Iceland brings the arrival of réttir, the annual sheep roundup. After spending spring and summer grazing in the hills and meadows of the Icelandic countryside, the nation"s many sheep—all members of a distinct breed—are brought home to their ranches to avoid the harsh winter weather. It"s not an easy task—ranchers and Icelandic sheepdogs endeavor to bring the often stubborn sheep in, and then they must sort them so they go back to their respective owners. When the sheep are all secure at their home ranches, people customarily celebrate with music, dancing, drinks, and food. In recent years, the event has attracted tourists interested in seeing this collaborative undertaking in action, but of course, even in the Icelandic countryside, social events like réttir celebrations will be a bit more subdued this year.
Sep 17, 2020
Citizenship Day and Constitution Day
Today we visit the National Archives in Washington DC, where the US Constitution and the Declaration of Independence are on display, to mark Constitution Day and Citizenship Day. It"s a single day with a dual purpose—commemorating the formation and signing of the Constitution, while also recognizing both naturalized citizens and those born in the US. Ordinarily, many people become naturalized citizens in group ceremonies on this day; on average, about 700,000 people become American citizens each year.
Sep 16, 2020
It s Independence Day in Mexico
In honor of today"s Independence Day holiday in Mexico, our homepage image comes from the state of Guanajuato—where the country"s battle for independence first began. The conflict started with the "Cry of Dolores," an event on September 16, 1810, when priest Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla rang the church bell in the nearby town of Dolores and called for a revolt to free Mexico from Spanish control. His call to arms triggered the formation of an insurgency that marched onward to San Miguel and then to the city of Guanajuato (shown in this image). The ensuing conflict spanned more than a decade, culminating with Mexico finally breaking free from Spanish rule in 1821.