Color makes me happy. Animals make me happy. Colorful animals, well, make me ecstatic.
So when I saw this bird pass by on my Facebook feed a few weeks back, I dragged the photo to my desktop. I have a bad habit of pulling any jpeg that interests me to my desktop so I can click on it whenever I want and be reminded of a funny saying or cartoon or of a beautiful picture. I could use Pinterest for this but I’m selfish. I don’t want to have to make that many clicks or be dependent upon my internet working.
This photo quickly became my favorite so I decided to make it my wallpaper. And instead of increasing its size to fit the whole screen, I tiled it, so I have six of these birds before me whenever I open my laptop.
A couple of days ago, I cleaned up the computer, exported my jpegs to Iphoto and then, put them in the trash. Suddenly, you could see all the birds in their glory. No little jpeg boxes hindering my view.
I was so excited (I’m easy) that I had to show somebody, so I called over the only other person in the house, my 14 year old daughter. She looked at the bird and agreed: it is gorgeous. Then she said something that totally shocked me. She said that it was probably Photoshopped.
My heart sunk in my chest. I wanted this bird to be a real live creature out in the world, not some fabricated version enhanced to appeal to my needy senses. I decided that she had to be wrong. Photoshopped? No way.
And I went about the rest of my day. And the next day.
But I was bothered by her suggestion, so at 10 pm, when I finally got home, I did a little Google research. And this is what I found out.
The photo is of an African Pygmy Kingfisher and was taken by Mark Waite (Markymarketon on Flickr) on February 3, 2010 using a Canon EOS 500D camera. This is what Mark Waite wrote about the photo: This little fella had just flown into our window and winded himself. He took about ten minutes to recover before flying off. I zoomed in from a distance as didn’t want to upset him further. I think he must have been quite young as he only measured about 6 or 7 cm tall.
I Googled images of other African Pygmy Kingfishers and while I didn’t find any that were quite as perfect as the one Mark Waite photographed, they all were similar in color and shape and the look of the feathers.
So, with research behind me, I declared that my daughter’s cynicism was wrong. The photo above, which I hope you are loving as much as I do, is not Photoshopped. And if I am wrong and Mark Waite reads this, I hope he keeps his mouth shut.
And if he doesn’t, well, at least I learned the name of this species of bird and if I ever get to Africa, which I do hope I will someday, and I am lucky enough to spy one, I will share its name with whomever I am with and tell them about my first sighting in 2012.