Things That Go Bump In The Night - A Pigeon Auto-Ornitho-Vitrograph

bump1.jpgOn 15 July 2008, something went bump in the night. I slept right through it, but my wife informed me she heard a bird hit the living room window. On examination, it was not only possible to see where the bird (apparently a wood pigeon) had struck, it was possible to see a detailed image of the bird itself.



It's a picture of a bird, on glass, created by the bird itself - an auto-ornitho-vitrograph.

A lot of the fine detail in this image just doesn't photograph well - due to the confounding nature of the backdrop, the lighting conditions, the difficulty of focusing a camera on the glass of the window and the subtlety of the image itself. When viewed in person, it's really quite striking - it's easy to see the outline of wings, beak, feet, even individual feathers on the breast.

As mentioned above right, it's just a shame that this phenomenon is so very difficult to capture photographically. Being able to see it in the video - moving relative to the backdrop - does make it a little easier to pick out some of the details, but even so, the camera doesn't do it justice. So I made a sketch (which also doesn't do it justice) of what it looks like when examined close up in person:


On the actual window glass, you can almost make out the expression of confused panic.

The bird

It's clear that the bird must have impacted the window quite forcefully - since head, wings, chest and feet all came into firm contact with the glass - not to mention that it made a noise loud enough to disturb someone on the floor above.

I fully expected to find the animal dead in the front garden, but there was no sign of it. I suppose it may have retreated, stunned, to die somewhere else, or a fox or cat may have taken it, or perhaps it was lucky and just spent the rest of the day nursing a bad headache and a lot of bruises.


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