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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A Totally Accurate Scientific Theory on Avian Physics

Over the past six months, I’ve taken up what can only be described as bird photography. While I’m still not as good at it as James, I’m getting there, and you can see many of the results right here on the blog. But bird photography is frustrating, and on more than one occasion I’ve had my viewfinder perfectly focused on a subject only to have it disappear just before I depress the shutter. It’s happened so many times, in fact, that I’ve been able to come up with a rigorously tested and undeniably scientific theory as to why. Simply, birds exist in a separate quantum state from every other living thing on Earth.

How else can you explain this nth-dimensional Ruby-crowned Kinglet?

You may ask yourself, how is this possible? How do I work this? Where is your large automobile? As the days go by… dang, lost my train of thought! Back to the point: like I said, The Quantum Theory of Birds is simple, much like quantum physics itself. Literally anybody can understand it. If a bird occupies a position in space, but that position is struck by photons reflected by, say, a camera lens or a pair of binoculars, the bird switches quantum states and exists in a dimension that we, as humans, cannot perceive.

Ready your optics and... poof! No Northern Cardinal!

To put it in laymen’s terms, Δx Δp ≥ h/4π, where Δx Δp is the bird’s position in space and h/4π is like tacos or something. In physics, variables are whatever we want them to be. So while I was eating a taco one day (totally unrelated taco), I noticed a nice Yellow-rumped Warbler sunning itself on my porch, right in the light. How could I refuse the opportunity? I took my camera, aimed it out the open window, and fired a single shot, and… it worked! Finally, a bird whose quantum state remains unchanged when faced with a camera!

Mwahaha, a successful photograph! Man: 1, Quantum Physics:...8642... wait, that can't be right...

But the bird was preening, I wanted that perfect look. I steadied myself for another shot. All of a sudden…

Gone! Vanished! Disappeared! Dematerialized! Apoptosed!

Damn you physics! The Yellow-rumped Warbler had clearly and spontaneously flipped dimensions on me. Perhaps it still existed in some five dimensional space where time has little meaning and quarks control the media. But to my eyes, it had disappeared, forever lost to humanity and our lackluster quantum existence.

Or you know, maybe it flew off or something. I didn’t really see what happened. 


  1. This is absolutely wonderful. I'm so glad you came up with a theory to explain my many shots of beautiful branches totally empty of avian forms. And why a beautifully posed bird can suddenly transform into an awkward preening bird. Now, why/how do grebes and buffleheads dive as soon as one focuses on them.... they do leave ripples behind, so the theory differs.

  2. Well obviously when they switch dimensions, there's a void where the bird's mass had displaced the water. The ripples are just the water filling in that displacement. Obviously! ;)