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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Do they see what I see?

I'm always fascinated by the different structures, shapes, colours and other characteristics of the eyes of my animals.  The variation is tremendous.  I find it remarkable how nature has adapted each creature's eye for its needs, and how they all serve a similar purpose, but they are all so unique to that animal.  I thought I'd share my fascination with eyes through a series of pictures I took.  I hope you enjoy them!

One of the mini-Nubian and angora cross young goats.  What eyelashes!
Blue faced Leicester ewe.
A broody hen!
Petunia the senior ewe.
Maple, the angora rabbit.

It's interesting to me to note how most of my animals have their eyes positioned on the sides of their heads, rather than in front, like human eyes.  This means that they have a much wider field of vision, but I believe it also means that they don't see terribly well directly in front of them.  So how does their brain process what they see?  Does it produce a combined picture with a "blank" in the middle (i.e. directly forward)?  Does it produce two images that they "view" separately in their mind?  

A Pekin duck.
Lovely llama lady!
Miss Marshmallow, of course.
Easter egger hen.

Who sees in colour?  Who sees in black and white?  Do they perceive colours the same way I do?  What does a sheep see when it looks at a yellow dandelion?  What does a chicken see when it looks at another chicken?  Does a white chicken know that a brown chicken is different from itself?  I do believe that animals can identify eyes in other species.  Chickens have a tendency to stare at my eyes, which sometimes makes me nervous because I think they might peck at them.  Do they look at them because they are shiny?  because they have small movements?  because they can tell I am looking back at them?

Blue-faced Leicester - Polypay cross lamb.
Blue-faced Leicester ewe.  They have a habit of looking surprised!
Olwyn, the blue-faced Leicester lamb.
Young light Brahma chick.
Icelandic ewe.
Who are you calling chicken?
Stormy the cria.
Finally one of my favourites - Lotus the Nigerian dwarf goat.  
Next time you look at your animals, whether they be farm animals or pets (or both), take a moment to study the beauty of their eyes, and maybe ask yourself if they see what you see.

11 comments:

Christy said...

I love goat eyes. They are so expressive.

Louise said...

Lovely post. You definitely got me thinking.

Nancy K. said...

Beautiful photos and thought provoking comentary! Excellent post...

SheepMama said...

A very interesting post. I have asked myself many times what my animals see and as they see it. I will take your idea and make pictures of their eyes.

Callie said...

One of our chickens has much larger eyes that the other hens. I wonder if she can see better? Great post!

IsobelleGoLightly said...

Eye see youuuu! hee hee! Those are wonderful photos Claire!

Gail said...

Stunning eyes series

polly's path said...

I have always wondered the same thing.
Speaking of broody, we have our very first broody momma. I hope you can give me some advice. I have separted her from the others and she has plenty of food and water. My fear is that it doesn't look like she is at all getting up to eat or drink. Ideas?

Deborah @ Antiquity Oaks said...

Cool! A few months ago I read a fascinating article about chicken's vision. They can actually see MORE color than we can! That is also why they seem to be practically blind at night -- and why it's so easy to catch them. It has to do with rods and cones in the eye, and I don't remember it all, but a dog's excellent night vision comes at the expense of him being able to see color.

Cat said...

I always loved looking at Ding Dong's eyes, she was a blue eyed llama. She had a habit of winking at me every once in a while, and I always wondered since she was a white blonde color, if she was channeling some diva...

Cat

Earthenwitch said...

Claire! Your parcel arrived this morning - good grief, it is stuffed to the gunwhales with loveliness, and you are TOO TOO LOVELY TOO. Thankyouthankyouthankyou.

Pics of resultant craftiness to follow as soon as time permits.