Wednesday, January 5, 2011

eye spy the birds of essex county

I visited the Peabody Essex Museum this afternoon to see The Emperor's Private Paradise: Treasures from the Forbidden City before it closes on Sunday (blog entry coming soon) and while I was there I had to check out Eye Spy, Playing with Perception. Eye Spy deals with how what we think we should see, or what we expect to see, influences what we actually do see. That's a phenomenon that birders often experience, right? One of the exhibits fit right in with birding. An artist had modified one of the regular museum displays, specimens of the birds of Essex County and challenged viewers to "spot the impostors".

At first look, it's just the usual exhibit of specimens of the birds of Essex County.

The display case has specimens of many of the 330 species of birds known to occur in Essex County, including some of my favorite sea birds who spend the winter here.

Harlequin Duck looks like he's floating, but that's not one of the intentional perceptual tricks.

The Harlequin is not an impostor. I was trying to create my own perceptual effect with camera angle and focus to make it look like he's floating in the middle of the case.

There's something strange about these owls.
I had to look twice at the owls to determine whether I really saw what I thought I saw: The Third Eye.

Leach's Storm Petrel
There was nothing weird about the storm petrel.
Or was there?

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