Carmine Bee-Eaters

Photograph by Frans Lanting

Cement skies over Luangwa Valley, Zambia, set off a string of ruby-plumed carmine bee-eaters perched on a branch. Over the years, the National Geographic Society has supported many ornithological studies, from George Shiras’s Migratory Bird Treaty, a critical piece of conservation legislation, to Ernest Holt’s expedition to South America to research and photograph more than 3,000 birds representing 486 species.