Artist Blog

Every week an artist whose single image was published by Der Greif is given a platform in which to blog about contemporary photography.

A sterile bastard

Apr 16, 2021 - Julia Albrecht

Today I want to share an interesting side fact about “After Fertilisation”: during my research about animal hybrids, I came across the Rackelhahn, a mixture of capercaillie and black grouse. This male bird has attracted my attention because of its extreme aggressiveness towards other roosters. Once in a fight, he follows a high. There is no additional opportunity than death – a cruel sight and disturbing at the same time. An escape is hopeless. Especially fixated on the red crest, he shreds his opponent and breaks his breast ribs with his massive wings. As long as the shattered body is still twitching, there is no end in sight. His fighting rage increases until he finally tears off the head of his victim and hurls it into the landscape. You can only guess from the dead carcass where the head was sitting before. For me, it is still hard to believe that a bird can be capable of so much violence. Nevertheless, the Rackelhahn copulates several times on the lifeless body. What crowns its inability to procreate.

His genes are divided into two parts. There are the aggressive and combative black grouse as well as the alone mating capercaillie. Unfortunately, nature is not able to harmonise both. The differences vary in the roosters themselves, some are very shy, and some are highly aggressive. As beautiful as it is, nature shows us now and then its cruel sides. Every time I look at the photographs, I can not believe how peaceful he looks.

*In cooperation with the Westphalian Museum of Natural History.