Bing Wallpaper Gallery
May 8, 2020
Victory in Europe, 75 years ago
On May 8, 1945, thousands of people poured into the streets of Paris to celebrate the defeat of Nazi Germany and the end of World War II in Europe. This photo of the famous Avenue des Champs-Élysées was taken from atop the appropriately named Arc de Triomphe, looking east toward the distant Place de la Concorde and the Louvre. Victory in Europe (VE-Day) had come at last.
May 7, 2020
Where the wildflowers grow
In honor of National Wildflower Week, we"re looking at a splash of blooming bluebonnets, the state flower of Texas. If you notice bluebonnets and other blooms while traveling down Texas highways, thank the state"s Department of Transportation, which sows tens of thousands of pounds of wildflower seeds along roadways each year.
May 6, 2020
The (Inca) empire strikes back
It"s the 1530s. Spanish conquistadors are cementing their hold over the lands of the Inca Empire, including the massive 12th-century stone fortress in today"s image: Sacsayhuamán, in the old Inca capital of Cusco. The Spanish hold prisoner a man named Manco Inca, the puppet leader they"ve installed over the Incans. But in April 1536, he escapes.
May 5, 2020
A courtyard scene from Spain
For centuries people have lavishly decorated the courtyards of Córdoba, in southern Spain"s Andalusia region. Here in the San Basilio neighborhood of the city’s old town, the densely packed whitewashed houses look out onto courtyards and patios embellished by hanging flowerpots and trailing plants. The sculpture on today’s homepage, by artist José Manuel Belmonte, pays homage to the caretakers who pass along the tradition.
May 4, 2020
It s Star Wars Day
Does this place look familiar? If you"re a "Star Wars" fan you might recognize it as the planet of Crait, featured in "The Last Jedi." In reality it"s Salar de Uyuni, the world"s largest salt flat, found in southwest Bolivia. This otherworldly landscape is near the crest of the Andes, about 12,000 feet above sea level. The salt flat was formed when prehistoric lakes dried up over centuries, leaving behind a salt crust several feet deep. After a rare rainfall, a thin layer of perfectly still water will transform the salt flat into a giant mirror 80 miles across.
May 3, 2020
World Laughter Day—it s a hoot
We could all use a little laughter right now, and this snowy owl seems to have the right idea. Or maybe she knows it"s World Laughter Day, which has been celebrated every first Sunday in May since 1998. Started in India by Dr. Madan Kataria, founder of the worldwide laughter yoga movement, World Laughter Day aims to raise awareness about laughter and its healing benefits. It"s not about watching or reading something funny—though there"s nothing wrong with that—it"s about improving your mood and well-being by laughing spontaneously. However you choose to do it, take inspiration from the owl and laugh today.
May 2, 2020
Morocco in bloom
Millions of roses are harvested in May and June each year in the Dades Valley of Morocco, known as the Valley of Roses. (It"s also called the Valley of a Thousand Kasbahs, for the many traditional fortresses found here.) The Asif M"Goun River flows from high in the Atlas Mountains, bringing water to the lush valleys below.
May 1, 2020
It s Asian Pacific American Heritage Month
As Asian Pacific American Heritage Month kicks off today, we"re visiting Kubota Garden in Seattle, part of the city"s extensive park system. The 20-acre Japanese garden is tucked away in the Rainier Beach district—one of the traditional centers of Seattle"s Asian American community.
Apr 30, 2020
What kind of bird laid these eggs?
These colorful little eggs are the progeny of the hoary redpoll, also known as the Arctic redpoll because of its extreme northern habitat. This hardy finch spends much of its time, including breeding season, in the brushy tundra of the northern polar regions. Because of the extreme cold, the female will often line her nest with feathers, particularly white ptarmigan feathers, as these appear to be. Sighting a hoary redpoll is a rare treat. The bird doesn"t exactly migrate, but in winter it will sometimes fly short distances farther south in search of food, so if you live in Minnesota, North Dakota, or Montana, you might get a peek at one on your bird feeder. You’ll recognize a hoary redpoll by its small yellow bill, red cap, dark face, and "frosty" white underbody streaked with brown. Or listen for the "chif chif chif" of its call.
Apr 29, 2020
Spring comes to the Palouse
The Palouse region of the inland Pacific Northwest is an unusually hilly prairie that straddles the state line between Washington and Idaho. Farming seems an unlikely endeavor here, but the soil and weather patterns make it ideal for growing certain crops, especially wheat and lentils. This time of year, when the wheat and barley crops are young, the hills brighten to fresh shades of green.
Apr 28, 2020
Happy 800th, Salisbury Cathedral
We"re in the English county of Wiltshire to celebrate the 800th anniversary of Salisbury Cathedral—the towering marvel of Early English Gothic design rising behind these contentedly grazing sheep. The massive church"s first foundation stones were laid here in Salisbury—then called New Sarum—on April 28, 1220. The structure itself dates back even further, the bulk of it having been moved over a mile piece by piece from the former Roman stronghold of Old Sarum.
Apr 27, 2020
That s quite a schnoz, baby tapir
For World Tapir Day, we"re bringing you nose-to-nose with a baby South American tapir. The creamy stripes and dashes on its coat help keep this endangered calf camouflaged under the filtered light of the Amazon tree canopy. It may look small now, but mature tapirs are the largest native mammals in South America. About that nose: Tapirs use their prehensile nose trunk to grab plants and berries. And if they submerge under the surface of the water, some even use it as a snorkel.
Apr 26, 2020
Red skies at Ruby Beach
Our National Park Week virtual tour comes to a close at sunset on Ruby Beach, one of the many stunning corners of Olympic National Park in Washington state. A few miles from the shore is Destruction Island, where birds such as rhinoceros auklets may stop and rest after a day of gobbling up krill and squid in the cold Pacific waters. While the park includes miles of colorful Pacific coastline, it"s also famous for the Hoh Rainforest, an inland temperate forest notable for its towering old-growth hemlock and spruce trees.
Apr 25, 2020
Rockin with the rockhoppers
For World Penguin Day, we"re featuring a jaunty group of southern rockhopper penguins on a Falkland Islands beach. Most penguins slide over ice on their bellies, but these small penguins opt for more aerobic locomotion—they hop. Of all penguin species, rockhoppers are among the most numerous. But pollution, overfishing, and climate change have taken a toll: Their population has declined by about 30% over the last 30 years. Today, there"s an estimated 1.5 million breeding pairs of rockhoppers. About 1 million of those are southern rockhopper couples, like these, with the northern and eastern subspecies accounting for the rest.
Apr 24, 2020
Celebrating 30 years of eye-opening images
On this day in 1990, the Hubble Space Telescope entered orbit in the cargo bay of the space shuttle Discovery. Shortly thereafter, it began its continuing mission to capture images of our universe from low Earth orbit, free of the obstructions of clouds and the distortions of the atmosphere. Like its namesake, the great astronomer Edwin Hubble, the Hubble Space Telescope has transformed our understanding of the cosmos. Some of the telescope"s greatest contributions include its Deep Fields images, which peer back billions of light-years and help astronomers measure the size and age of the universe and test theories about its origin. It"s also produced jaw-dropping images of objects closer to home, like the one on today"s homepage. Here we"re looking at a maelstrom of glowing gas and dark dust within one of the Milky Way"s satellite galaxies, the Large Magellanic Cloud.
Apr 23, 2020
Duck, duck. duck, duck, duck...
When king eider males line up in a dandy display like this, it"s likely because they"re courting a hen (or what birders call a "queen eider"). These colorful drakes aren"t your regular ducks. They"re sea ducks, a group that includes several large duck species that feed off the coast in salt water. As you can see, male king eiders have striking multicolored plumage and yellowish knobs above their bills that are said to resemble crowns. They, and the less-ornate brown females, make their home in the frigid waters along the Arctic coasts of northern Europe, North America, and Asia.
Apr 22, 2020
50 years of Earth Day
For Mother Earth"s big day, we"re shining the spotlight on a tree known as "Father of the Forest," or Te Matua Ngahere in the Maori language. This giant kauri tree lives in the Waipoua Forest of New Zealand"s North Island. At more than 1,500 years old and more than 52 feet around, it"s one of the oldest trees in New Zealand and one of the largest. It"s long been revered by the Maori, and is protected by Maori elders.
Apr 21, 2020
Where do those colors come from?
As National Park Week continues, we"re turning our attention to the vivid colors of the Grand Prismatic Spring in Yellowstone National Park. Its intense rainbow hues are formed by cycles of hot water rising, cooling, and falling—creating rings of distinct temperatures inside the spring. The clear, blue center is the hottest part, with almost nothing living in it. But the other rings are home to various microorganisms that produce bands of distinct colors ranging from green to orange to red.
Apr 20, 2020
In the Garden of Europe
Welcome to the ‘Garden of Europe’—a nickname given to this public flower garden in Lisse, Netherlands. The literal translation of "keukenhof"—from Dutch to English—is "kitchen court," since the original grounds for the park and flower garden began as a vegetable garden for the royal residents of Keuken Castle during the 15th century. This prompted another nickname for the pastoral spot: "kitchen garden."
Apr 19, 2020
Step into the dark
We"re on the Isle of Skye, a fitting locale to celebrate the beginning of International Dark Sky Week, and not just because of its name. The Isle of Skye is one of several parts of Scotland that are set aside as Dark Sky parks, where the lack of artificial light makes stargazing a spectacular event, with or without a telescope.
Apr 18, 2020
National Park Week begins
To kick off National Park Week, which starts today, we"re turning our lens on Vernal Fall in California"s Yosemite National Park. This time of year, the waterfall flows in a torrent, but by late summer it can be reduced to a trickle of small streams slipping over the edge. Most years, Vernal Fall is at full power by May, as the spring thaw in the mountains melts the snowpack, turning the falls into a raging tumble of water spilling to the valley floor where the Merced River flows.
Apr 17, 2020
It s a ruff life
Native to forests rich in aspens and poplars across Canada and the US, ruffed grouse are nonmigratory birds who spend their entire lives in the same area. This one"s posing for us in the forest of Algonquin Provincial Park in Ontario, Canada. Depending on the habitat they"re in, their feathers can range in color from gray to red as a means of camouflage to protect themselves from predators. They get their name from the ruff of dark feathers on their neck. Despite being primarily ground-dwelling birds, ruffed grouse can be quite the acrobatic fliers when needed. They excel at flying in short spurts and are skilled at making sharp twists and turns when navigating through thick deciduous forests. How"s that for beauty and brawn?
Apr 16, 2020
Bridges to the past
The story of this sandstone formation in southeastern Utah"s Natural Bridges National Monument begins around 10 million years ago. That"s when tectonic shifts began slowly lifting what is now the 130,000-square-mile Colorado Plateau above the surrounding plains. In ensuing eons, the Colorado River"s many streams eroded the elevated land, threading it with deep canyons. When water broke through one canyon wall into another canyon, sometimes a natural bridge like this one remained above the breach.
Apr 15, 2020
Art and soul
Art can seem like a portal to another dimension, as Irish-born artist Laura Buckley shows us in today"s mind-bending image. She posed here (and there, and there, and there…) with her mixed-media sculpture "Fata Morgana" at London"s Saatchi Gallery last year. The work is outwardly unassuming, made from a hexagonal wood-frame tube lined on the inside with reflective acrylic and capped on one end with a projection screen. When a viewer enters the installation, the mirrored surfaces reflect their image along with a video projected on the screen, merging the two into a whimsical mirage.
Apr 14, 2020
A day for the dolphins
We"re celebrating World Dolphin Day with a small pod of pantropical spotted dolphins. Award-winning photographer Christian Vizl captured this serene scene off the coast of Ixtapa, Mexico, where these cetaceans can be, er, spotted in abundance. As their name would suggest, pantropical spotted dolphins live in tropical and subtropical waters around the world. They"re the second-most common dolphin after the bottlenose and grow between 6 and 7 feet long. That may seem big if you were swimming next to one, but it"s really pretty small compared with the big kahuna of the dolphin family—the orca. Orca bulls can be up to 32 feet long and tip the scales at 11 tons. Let"s all take a moment today to spread the love of dolphins big and small and recognize their importance to our ecosystem. To see more of Vizl"s stunning nature photography, select the link below.