Friday, May 18, 2007

PI's duck

We have a duck breeding in PI's inner yard!

For a 3-D view of the yard without the duck see here. If you load the file, she's sitting underneath the tree behind you, the one not on the lawn but in the middle of the terrace (the tree hasn't noticeably grown since the picture was taken.)

Of course the smart duck has chosen one of the world's excellence centers in theoretical physics because of the intelligent conversation by all the Potentially Ingenious smokers hanging around there.

Okay, okay, maybe it was just the ground color. Look how perfectly she fits in there. (In fact it seems, most people have missed her even though she's sitting directly opposite the door and between two tables.) Too bad I will be away the next weeks.


  1. :)
    At least two pairs of Canadian geese have set up nests in the parking lots of the corporation that employs me, but we're forbidden to carry cameras, so can't share. I think it is a sign of bird desperation.

  2. That's a completely crazy place for building a nest ;-)
    On the other hand, it's probably very safe against any potential predators, so, that's quite clever.

    BTW, is this blackboard next to the tree ever in use? Maybe the duck is speculating on a high-level education for her kids!

    Cheers, stefan

  3. Haha. She's at the right place then. I don't think it's a blackboard though ;).

  4. AAAH!

    Sorry, just lost my comment. What's up with this WLAN today?! So, again:

    Hi Arun,

    that's weird, what are you working at?! Yes, it must be kind of hard to find a quiet place in a city. Where is the nest in the parking lot?

    Hi Stefan,

    it looks crazy at first sight. But there is a small lake directly on the other side of the building, next to Waterloo park. But there is a walkway around it and always people nearby. PI's inner yard is nice and quiet, it's wind protected from three sides, and I doubt the occasional physicist is really disturbing. Also, PI residents seem to be very civilized - unlike the park, I've never seen any littering.

    Hi Francis,

    it is a blackboard. It's not often used, but sometimes there are indeed equations scribbled on it.



  5. Hi Bee,

    I suppose as long as no one in Perimeter is dreaming of duck soup, the bird and its offspring will be safe :) :)

    New Jersey in this parts is mostly a continuous suburban sprawl, and the office buildings where I work are in a park-like setting. There are islands of trees/shrubs in the parking lot, and the geese are squatting on the mulch.

    It has been rumored that a coyote has been sighted in the vicinity - so these birds are definitely taking a risk. People, gardeners included, are pretty benign, even though we have an overpopulation of these birds. With so many people and no predators left, the geese and the deer have had population explosions to the point of becoming nuisances.


  6. Cute how your duck hides her beak under her feathers, so it won't stand out. A polar bear stalking prey sometimes puts her paw over her black nose so it won't be noticed. Do you suppose this is conscious, or only instinct?

  7. Hard to say, but I think instinct. If it would be consciousness, they would have to understand the principal of camouflage, colour, perception.

    Bit too hard for the average duck i think. I sometimes wonder, how much an animal can "think".

  8. Why do birds roost hiding their beak? I wonder if there is a scientific explanation. But here is a nice pic for while you're wondering.

  9. And another

    Notice the stilt "hides" its long narrow beak which is not very visible anyway.

  10. Arun,

    Ouch! Reality bites. You had to take my cute little story and make it ugly, didn't you?

  11. Next thing, you'll tell me the polar bear's nose was cold.


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