Friend, or foe?

March 12 (1 of 1).jpg

Here’s an odd talent of ours: we’re often able to obtain the information we need to correctly identify something, based on the shape of its silhouette alone.

I’ll bet you guessed this was a bird, and not a dog or a squirrel. Even if you don’t know much about birds, I’m guessing you know it’s not a sparrow or an owl.

A quick Google search brings up numerous types of “silhouette identification guides,” collections of silhouettes grouped together and labelled to easily compare their shapes and sizes. Some guides include those related to birds, trees, watercraft, Pokémon, leaves, insects, more birds, and aircraft (including an unsettling image of a WWII-era poster encouraging the public to familiarize themselves with the silhouettes of in-flight aircraft in order to determine whether they’re hostile – and therefore whether or not to take shelter).

This led me to feel thankful that aircraft identification is not a life-or-death worry of mine in this particular place and time (it then led me to feel distress that someone, somewhere, is likely worrying about it right now).

I’m fortunate enough that the only immediate concern present when I made this photo was whether or not I’d be attacked by a pissed-off goose.

The goose could technically qualify as “hostile,” but all things considered, I really can’t complain.

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