Sunday, April 19, 2009

Callaway Garden

Callaway Garden bugs
Originally uploaded by daveterry.
We took a day trip to Callaway Garden, about two hours south of Atlanta Georgia. It was 68 degrees and perfect weather for a five mile walk.

The highlight of the garden was the Raptor Show (raptors = day active hawks, eagles and falcons).

Did you know that hawks see 80 frames a second? That means that television will never interest them. The TV paints images 30 frames a second, fast enough for our brain to think we are seeing moving images. But to a hawk the images look like a slide show, a very slow slide show. Their ability to see 80 frames a second means that it can see a humming bird's beating wings as still images.

Some other interesting things about the hawk:

  • It eats 6-7 field mice a day

  • It can read a newspaper from a football field away. (However, it's comprehension isn't great.)

Callaway Gardens - Georgia
Originally uploaded by daveterry.
That day they happened to have a barred owl. Some interesting things about the owl:

  • It's eys are shaped like mushrooms (stem side out) so they can't rotate them like ours.

  • It's neck has 14 vertebrae, which enables it to turn in a 270 degree radius. (This is important, see above.)

  • If our eyes were a big as an owls they'd be the size of grapefruits and weigh five pounds each.

  • Barred owls make the sound "who cooks for you, who cooks for you all" when it calls. (So don't get it confused with your mom's challenge.)

  • Their ears are asymmetric (not in the same place in their heads). The left ear is low on their head and faces downward, the right side ear is high and faces upward. They can hear your heart beating from hundreds of feet away.

A big thrill of this bird show was feeling their wings swoosh by, just a inch above our heads.

Callaway Gardens - Georgia
Originally uploaded by daveterry.
The butterfly exhibit was very peaceful. You can't chase butterflies. You need to sit and let them come to you. I think of them as the cat personality of the insect world.

Toward the end of our tour through the garden I snapped a few frames and created some HDR images from them. (HDR = High Dynamic Range) You can see a slide show of some HDRs here.

Callaway Gardens - Georgia
Originally uploaded by daveterry.

Callaway Gardens - Georgia
Originally uploaded by daveterry.

We are like butterflies who flutter for a day and think it is forever. - Carl Sagan