Saturday, March 6, 2010

Thayer's Pheasant

Shown here are three stages in a demonstration of the protective coloration (or natural camouflage) of a pheasant, as devised by American artists  and naturalists Abbott H. Thayer and his son Gerald H. Thayer. These and other artifacts were exhibited by the Thayers as instructive lessons at various schools and museums, including the Art Institute of Chicago. Following World War I (c1919-1920), these were also reproduced in popular US magazines. The top image shows the disruptive surface pattern on a pheasant, as seen against a field of white. In the second image, the same bird is shown in the context of a presumably typical setting—and, of course, voila!, it disappears. The third is an image that we created, to show the pheasant's location in the more or less natural setting above. Like the Thayers' other camouflage demonstrations, these may not offer definitive proof of anything, but they are still quite interesting.