Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Anthropomorphism is an attribution of human characteristics to a non-human, such as animals, plants, phenomena or inanimate objects. It is a common occurrence in cartoons, television shows, books and movies.
A prime example of anthropomorphism is the movie Ice Age. All the characters had humanlike characteristics. We all know that animals do not really act and think like people do.
When you work with animals as much as we do here at World Bird Sanctuary, it can sometimes be difficult not to wonder what the birds would be thinking if they did think like humans. So, in my head I often anthropomorphize our birds. A good example of when I do this is when I am handling Tsavo, one of our beautiful Bateleur Eagles. In my head I always imagine Tsavo speaking in third person, short and to the point. Like in this picture I imagine him saying “Tsavo hates symmetry! Obey Tsavo!”
During the Stone Zoo show season in 2011, there was one very rainy day and the look that Jack, our Harris’s Hawk, had on his face made me think that he was thinking “I hate being wet, can I have a towel please?”
Baton Rouge, our amazing and sweet King Vulture often slyly walks along the mew in a posture that seems to me as if he is begging for attention. He often sticks his beak through the wires and makes adorable lip-smacky noises.
Our Blue and Gold Macaw, Waylon, seems to get super excited while sitting on the back of a chair. In my head I often find myself thinking that he would be saying “Look at me! No hands! Now I’m gonna dance.”
Finally there is Nemo, our African Grey Parrot. He is very intelligent and he seems to know it. Sometimes he will mimic the sounds of a Red-Legged Seriema because he seems to know that it will cause the other Seriemas to start their vocal battle of dominance, by seeing who can be the loudest. After he gets them all calling out, he will sit on his perch with a look on his face that makes me wonder if he’s thinking “Don’t look at me, I didn’t get them started.”
All in all, at the end of the day we know that they are just birds and they don't think like we do, but it is too much fun not to wonder what it would be like if they did.