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screech owl question


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Carefully examine these photos, please...  I don't know how easy it is to judge size and such but if you can... 
1. Would you think these are REAL?
2. Is this the same bird in each picture?

The story...  in a group I manage, someone posted these with a story about having their screen door open and this eastern screech owl flew in to get away... stayed until the jays were gone and then left.

I questioned it... The birds have very different shape in each picture... I'm sure posture could account for that???  VERY different to me. But I've seen pictures so I don't imagine it's impossible... they also look different colors... One looks like a red morph, the other gray...  lighting??? 
I'm also TRYING to judge the size of the mantle it's supposedly perched on... the shells, pine cones, etc... The bird(s) look a LITTLE small to me... but I know they're small and all... but....

I didn't think I was rude... the lady ranted for a paragraph or two saying that me questioning the pictures said something about me.  I plan on asking what it says...  A pretty irate rant...  attacking me.  I had asked if there were any other pictures... they said yes but weren't going to bother defending themselves.  Hmmmm... the rant seemed like an attempt at defense to me.
They asked what they'd get out of putting a fake story up.  I don't have the answer to that but, it's been done before....  People DO post fake stories and pictures.
ack...

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16 minutes ago, millipede said:

the pattern on the belly in the first picture is extremely messy as well... and, nice and neat in the second. I just don't know what to think.

That's because there is a pine cone, or something in front of it, in the second photo. 

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I think lighting could play a part in the color change, and people have had owls get into their house before, so I could see this being a real situation. If there are actually two birds, maybe they are nesting in the side of the house and got in or something?

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I think they're real, and one detail that makes me fairly certain, aside from the fact that they overall look fine for real birds (or bird), is the feet in the first photo. One is in a weird shape to keep balance on the box. I don't think someone would make a fake owl with a foot shaped like that.

 

(And if they are fake, I want to know who made them, because they look real.)

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4 hours ago, millipede said:

the pattern on the belly in the first picture is extremely messy as well... and, nice and neat in the second. I just don't know what to think.

To my eye, what might be interpreted as the belly of the bird in the second photo goes way too far past the belly to actually be the belly itself. I thought it might be the bird's wing, perhaps splayed out in a protective fashion, but it could just as easily be something in front of the belly, but I don't think it's the belly.

Personally, I see no reason why I'd question someone who had suggested that these photos go along with the experience they had. Yeah, the bird looks different in both photos but I see nothing fake looking in either. The lighting, posture, and positioning can all explain why the bird looks different in the two photos, when you add in camera quality that might not handle white balance too well, different coloured birds wouldn't surprise me. 

4 hours ago, millipede said:

I just don't know what to think.

Sometimes it's better not to, thinking can lead to headaches just like these. 😉

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21 minutes ago, lonestranger said:

Sometimes it's better not to, thinking can lead to headaches just like these.

In the person's rant against me they questioned why someone would bother posting fake photos to get attention. I told them I didn't know why either but it sure happens.
I can't really control what catches my attention and causes me to question...
if humans gave me a reason to trust more, I would... 😞 

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The fact that the first owl is looking up and into the camera suggests to me that it's real along with the feet position that meghann pointed out. The second owl may be a different one (grey morph?) but it too is looking right at the camera. I know that screech owl pairs can be a red and a grey so perhaps this is a pair that did fly into this house. There is no definitive proof that the story is false so there is no reason to question it IMHO. If I were to "stage" and make up a story like this I would try to at least take better photos of them.

Yes, fake photos have been around as long as photography, even some major photo competitions have discovered faked photos that were submitted.

Edited by JimB
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8 hours ago, millipede said:

Thanks all...

would any of you blame me for being suspicious/doubting?

No, not at all. I'd blame the other person for the rude response to your inquiring about the photos that made you suspicious.

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As long as you were civil and reasonable in your doubts I put most of the blame on someone being too thin skinned. Especially when it comes from a respected or in your case a moderator type role. I get questioned from time to time by the ebird reviewers - sometimes I was wrong, often I just wasn't aware that something would be flagged at that time/location so I didn't think to make enough notes to back up my observation at the time. Sometimes I'm certain of what I saw but it never gets confirmed - oh well. 

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