This Is Why Owls Bob Their Heads
A recent segment of Audubon's "BirdNote" answered an age-old question about owls: Why do they bob their heads?
Turns out they're not trying to freak you out so much as figure you out.
Owls can't move their eyes in the same way we do -- they're fixed in one position -- so the birds move their entire heads instead.
"All these varied head movements help the owl judge the position and distance of things around it," host Mary McCann explained. "Essentially, to triangulate on objects, including potential prey and to build a composite picture of its surroundings."
While other birds of prey also bob their heads, the 270-degree rotation of the owl's neck makes for a much more dramatic stare.
Just be glad that staring is all the owl does when it looks you over.
"After a few of these head-bobs to triangulate on their prey, they rarely miss," McCann said.
Download or listen to more episodes of "Bird Notes HERE.
Now, here's a thing about chicken heads...
You can move the chicken all around but his (or her) head stays in the same place. How cool is that?
See Dancing Chickens Demonstrate Stability in Mercedes's Surprise Viral Hit
When Mercedes wanted an appropriate visual to explain its "Magic Body Control" active suspension system, the brand turned to—what else?—chickens.
In this spot from agency Jung von Matt/Neckar Stuttgart, a bunch of chickens are seen to be dancing to Diana Ross's "Upside Down"—actually it's their bodies that dance, manipulated by the hands of what we can only presume are scientists, while their heads remain comically static, as chickens' heads do.
Mercedes "Magic Body Control" active suspension system ad & comeback from Jaguar
The unexpected visual device has struck a nerve—the spot is nearing a million views on YouTube.
Agency Art Director Lucas Osis and Copywriter Nico Baumann say that there's no trick to the spot—the funny effect is all down to poultry dynamics: "Basically, we just put a chicken in front of the camera. Then we got choreographers to move them according to the music and filmed it."
No CGI was involved, they say—"all the credits go to the chickens, which are just naturally able to keep their head steady"—but there was the matter of finding the right chickens. "(It wasn't) easy finding one, that was also willing to do it in front of a camera. So we literally had to contact every single animal trainer in Germany to find our star. Quite a headache, but we think it was worth it," they say.
The creatives say the brief was to create a commercial for Mercedes's stabilization system that adapts to street conditions. "We then remembered a video we’ve seen a while ago: a guy moving a chicken around while its head stood perfectly still: Exactly the same thing the Mercedes system is able to do.
(A perfect analogy! But above all we wanted to create something that we would really enjoy to watch. So we tried to improve it somehow and thought: What’s better than seeing a chicken shaking? A chicken that is shaking to some funky disco music of course! And hopefully, people will agree with us." source
So, chickens are good at this...
And now... Chicken Steadycam!
This has been circulating around the net for a bit. For those that haven’t seen it, let me just give you a quick rundown of what is happening. This guy strapped a camera to a chicken’s head. No really, that’s it. There’s some interesting science behind it though. He’s taking advantage of the Vestibulo-Ocular Reflex in the chicken. It is basically the reflex that we use to keep our eyes firmly focused on something while our head is moving. In a chicken however, they move their entire head. This means that he can strap a camera to the chicken’s head and have an instant steadicam. At least that is the theory. As you can see in the video after the break, the harder part is getting the chicken to look at what you want it to look at. We also found a conversation about it with the creator,[MrPennywhistle] in some reddit comments.