Of birds and barley

“Of birds and barley” explores the contentious protection of the whooper swan in Iceland. Beloved by some for its aesthetic and symbolic attributes, the swan is cursed by others for its role in crop damage. Through interviews, field observations, and review of the literature in conservation biology and the environmental humanities, I expose various aspects of the biopolitics influencing conservation decision-making in the case of the swan.

This essay, published in the environmental journal Orion, is a narrative adaptation of my thesis research for my MSc in Environment and Natural Resources at the University of Iceland. It
 was selected as Editor's Choice of the Summer 2020 issue.