Sven Fritz (NL, º1983)

Gastroliths
photo-installation, 2011
Collection of the Verbeke Foundation

1 bird

1088 gastroliths

This is the stomach contents one capercaillie. This is a bird that lives in coniferous forests. Most herbivorous birds pick up stones on to seeds and buttons that they eat to be able to grind.

These stones come from a capercaillie that is shot in the province of Jämtland, in central Sweden. These birds have always between 900 and 1200 rhinestones in a so-called gizzard to be able to grind the buttons of coniferous trees. The gizzard is a spherical body that is covered with a thick layer of muscle tissue. After cutting open there appeared to be a mixture of fresh-smelling pine buds and rhinestones. 1088 stones of different sizes, colors and types of stone. By using a technique with a 1:5 lens it is possible to take  a closer look to every bit and its great to see differences.

The smoothest stones will be the longest to be polished and the sharpest will be in the stomach only briefly. The question arises whether the bird is aware of certain types of stone and how he makes his choice.

Verbeke Foundation