Friday, August 13, 2010

Half past... what now?

Kendall Kroesen

At Tucson Audubon we've grown pretty accustomed to curiosity clocks with birds drawings and bird songs. There are several on the market, and we sell one model in our Audubon Nature Shops.

But when Tucson Audubon staff member Matt Griffiths passed this one in a local store, it reignited his curiosity.

If you look closely, none of the bird illustrations correspond to its label. For example, at 7 p.m. there is a dandy illustration of a black-throated blue warbler, but it is labeled "White-Breasted Nuthatch." [Update: Matt Brooks corrected me recently. This is not a black-throated blue warbler but a similar-looking Old World flycatcher.]

I don't recognize a lot of the other species but I think they are Old World species labeled with New World bird names. This is clearly a quick attempt at a knock-off by a disreputable manufacturer.

Here are some close-ups.

Some people turn off the songs on their clocks, getting annoyed at hearing them over and over. But we gladly leave them turned on. Many of the calls are unfamiliar to us, so we are not sure, but we are dubious whether any of them actually correspond to either the drawing or the label.

No manufacturer's name graces this clock, perhaps in recognition of a design effort that wasn't up to snuff. It only says "QUARTZ" and "Made in China."

We hang this clock in our office with pride, and wait to see if visitors take a closer look. Most do not, and have to be encouraged to admire our novelty.

A quick Web search did not turn up any other people lucky enough to have encountered this clock. But if you have seen it or know anything about its origins, please do comment on this post. (We're dying to know!)

Better yet, come by and visit us. It probably won't be good for our productivity but it'll be great for our morale!

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