Fake Owls

Fake news is making headlines these days although outrageous, bogus news stories are nothing new.  For example, the National Enquirer, famous for fake news, dates back to shortly after the signing of the Magna Carta, as shown by the July 5, 1215 woodcut (below right).

mermaids
Mermaids Negotiate Peace Treaty Between France and England

(Actually I’m lying.  The National Enquirer started in 1926.)

You have to admit though, that there have been some great fake headlines over the years.  One of my personal favorites is “Face Of Alfred. E. Neuman Appears In Slice Of Toast On  Pope’s Breakfast Tray”  Or maybe it was “Face Of Pope Appears In Slice Of Toast On Alfred E. Neuman’s Breakfast Tray.”  I forget which.

toast face

OK, maybe I made that headline up.  Nobody even knows who Alfred E. Neuman is any more.  And I have no idea who the guy in the toast is.

But  here’s  a real fake headline that appeared in the Weekly World News in 1937.  The tipoff that it’s fake is that Hilary was only eight years old in 1937.

alien baby

Speaking of aliens, how about the whole Bigfoot On Mars thing that hit the news in late 2007?  OK, maybe the shape in the picture below sort of looks like it has the torso of a Sasquatch, but the rest of it looks more like a seal, or maybe a walrus.

20130529_sasquatch
Bigfoot en route to potato field

 

 

 

 

 

But while we’re talking about fakes, let’s talk about this whole business of using fake plastic owls to keep pigeons from crapping on your roof or balcony.  There’s this gigantic fake owl industry (well, pretty big fake owl industry) built on the premise that pigeons are stupid, and can’t tell an immobile owl-replica from the real thing.

But this isn’t true.  The gigantic fake owl industry is built on the fact that humans can’t tell the difference.  I know this because there is a grassy expanse  on the other side of the parking lot just outside the window of my office.  There’s a fake owl tacked on to a post at the edge of that grass.  Every time I look out my window, I do a double-take and think to myself, “Dang!  Look at that owl!  What the heck is it doing over there?”

IMG_1328
Fake owl mocking me with its immobility

The pigeons figure out that the immobile plastic object is no threat after a couple of days, tops.  Then they start laughing at us humans.  To my point, here’s a little  vignette I ran across on a fake-owl debunking site which says it all:

“I remember telling my wife when we were first dating to get a fake owl to scare the pigeons away, she pointed over to the next balcony where a fake owl was covered in pigeon shit.”

And from the same site:

“I think the fake owls work better if you have a lot of real owls around your place. Nesting boxes, tall pole perches, mowing your orchard, leaving a light on near your garden/orchard and playing owl calls over the stereo are good ways to attract screech owls and barred owls. (Horned owls, too.) When you get a bunch of real owls, the other birds can’t always be so sure that the owl decoys are fake. (It helps to move the fake owls around a lot, too.) ”

So these people went to the trouble to attract a bunch of real owls to their orchard or whatever, but they still spent money on fake owls.  Plus, it sounds like they spent a lot of time moving the fake owls around.  What was wrong with the real owls?  It just goes to show you that you can fool a couple of pigeons all of the time and you can fool all of the pigeons for a couple of days, but you can fool all of us humans as long as you have a healthy supply of fake owls, especially the ultra-realistic ones that flap their plastic wings, move their heads and hoot convincingly.

I think that people should just quit diddling around with stupid fake owls and move on to something like this:

IMG_1331 (2)
Unretouched photo taken near my house

That bad boy probably cost a fortune, but this next picture puts it all into perspective:

IMG_1330 (2)That, my friends, is a Porsche Cayman.  And there was a Maserati parked on the street in front of that house.  I am not making up so much as a single syllable of any of this.  There wasn’t a single femtogram of pigeon poop anywhere on those vehicles, either.

I wouldn’t shit you about this.

Next column: How to scare away car thieves

 

Author:

Dave Barry fan and Medical Director at Rocky Mountain Analytical

One thought on “Fake Owls

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