Friday, June 12, 2009

Secundus Plays With His Eyes

Yes, after many adventures--begging, flying out, flying back in, begging, several crash landings back into the nest tree, climbing to the top, begging, attempting to sleep on a branch, begging--Primus left, and Secundus right, are back in the nest.

Actually for some time now I've been looking at a big pile of feathers that moved but nothing identifiable but some tail feathers sticking up at a right angle. Let's face it, they really don't fit into the nest very well anymore.

I have a feeling that Secundus is actually laying on top of Primus, who's head has disappeared back into the bowl. Better that way for Secundus as he's smaller and more squashable. He checks out the view with his right eye.
Secundus then starts peering. As we know one of his absolutely favorite activities. This one is particularly good. One eyeball looks between the stubs of two broken off twigs.
Without magnification I wouldn't be able to see his head shape which has merged with the branch, now would I?

Now some folks might think that Secundus thinks that even being behind those tiny stumps makes him invisible. Actually I've no idea what he is thinking but I think there is something wired in with birds when it comes to all the looking through even the smallest of barriers. The activity runs across any number of species, particularly the larger ones. Crows do it, as do Blue Jays, and of course Red-tails. And in actuality, without "hawk vision" in the form of lenses Secundus might well have "disappeared to my sight.

Smaller birds who are "hiding" will often go into a stance, when feeling observed, of standing with beak pointed to the sky and complete stillness. It changes their shape. Some of their "birdness" disappears head and beak on one end, tail on the other. It's gone. It appears to be a way of hiding in plan sight. And particularly when back lit, the "birdness" of a hawk while peering peering from behind something helps make them "disappear" as well.

With the larger birds, it seems to me, there is an urge to peek, and eventually they learn what kind of thing works and what doesn't.

And besides with Secundus he seems to find it the absolute best of games. "Play" in all young creatures being the work of learning the skills to be successful in life.

Here he just pokes his head out and checks the view while looking at me.

Next he obscures the view of one eye. What happens to hawk vision when only one eye is used? He's checking it out.

Okay, now sideways. One eye in light and one eye in shade. What does that do?

Back to full head visibility but he isn't using binoc vision to look at me. Just the one eye is in play for me. What is the other eye seeing?

Next, back to checking his right eye again with left eye obscured by the branch.

Something happens. Primus even pops up. Wow, Primus from this angle has begun to look like she is wearing "Planet Of The Apes" makeup.
I've obviously been standing in the sun just a little bit too long. Time to seek shade and increased hydration.
Donegal Browne
P.S. Actually I had been in the sun too long. There is absolutely no shade where there is a view of this nest. And though I religiously wear a broad brimmed hat and consume liquids, standing out on "the Prairie" on three separate stints of several hours each, with the sun beating down, did me in. More on that adventure, a true cautionary tale, to come.

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