Title text: No, tell the park rangers to calm down, it's fine--I put a screen on the front. I just want to get the birds a little closer.
| This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: Needs more information on birdwatching specifically about using binoculars vs. a superzoom (or just large zoom) camera, and if it is correct how the explanation say it is more difficult with the camera or if it is just an inexperienced Cueball that is the reason for the trouble.|
If you can address this issue, please edit the page! Thanks.
In this comic Cueball and his friend with a knit cap are out birdwatching (hence the title). Birdwatching is an activity to observe birds. Usually this is done at a distance, as birds are flying in the air, and are far away. It is thus helpful to use binoculars.
Cueball's friend uses binoculars and manages to spot a hawk a mile up. Cueball, however, has brought his camera, probably his superzoom camera from 1719: Superzoom. But it is very difficult to find anything in such a camera if you zoom in first. And maybe Cueball is with his trained friend, out birdwatching for the first time. Cueball is frustrated and comments on the difficulty and is amazed his friend can spot birds over such distances.
Frustrated with his camera Cueball comes up with a solution, which is to use a vacuum cleaner, specifically a shop vac, to pull the birds in closer so he won't need the superzoom camera to see them (this he has just left on the ground next to the shop vac). This is physically impossible with such a small device. Even if the shop vac created a perfect vacuum, it can only pull out air at the speed of sound, which amounts to approximately 1 cubic meter per second considering the apparent size of the hose. This is not enough to create a significant amount of wind or affect the atmosphere. (Of course he may have borrowed it from his other friend Beret Guy who has many strange powers that also extends to improving vacuum cleaners, which Cueball knows about as seen in 1486: Vacuum).
The title text refers to park rangers, who would naturally be distressed by birds being forced to coalesce via an extremely powerful vacuum. If such a vacuum were created and used for this purpose, it probably would pose a threat to said birds. Cueball says he has solved this problem by placing a perforated screen in front. In doing so, he can safely attract the birds without trapping them inside the vacuum. He implies that this should remove the danger to the birds, which is not the case. While the birds can no longer enter the vacuum itself, having a large number of birds pulled into a (presumably small) screen would probably fare poorly for the birds, so Cueball's solution is rather poor.
When out birdwatching it is a great idea to have a silhouette chart to be able to recognize the birds by the shadow they make against the sky. Two comics before this one Randall made a comic with just such a chart, 1824: Identification Chart, although that was for combinations of birds and planes...
- [Cueball and his friend with a knit cap are standing together looking up in the sky. Cueball holds a camera with a large lens down in front of him, and his friend holds binoculars down in front of him.]
- Cueball: Birdwatching is hard.
- Cueball: They're all way too small and far away.
- [In a frame-less panel they both raise their tool eyepieces to their eyes.]
- Cueball: That hawk is over a mile up! How did you even spot it?
- [Both lower their eyepiece again. The friend still looks up while Cueball looks down on his camera which he holds up in front of him. A black squiggly line above his head indicates that he is fuming over his cameras abilities.]
- [Cueball now has a vacuum cleaner with a big body and a large hose which he is pointing towards the sky, as air is visibly sucked in to the hose and the vacuum cleaner is making a very loud noise which extends beyond the frame of the panel.Cueball is holding one hand on the vacuum cleaner which has a label with its brand on it. Cueballs camera lies on the ground in front of the vacuum cleaner. The friend looks back at Cueball.]
- Vacuum cleaner: Whrrrrr
- Label: Shop Vac
- This comic was originally published with a very large picture, much larger than the standard screen.
- The original image was named birdwatching_huge.png
- The image at that location has also been downsized to normal dimensions.
- It was later updated to use an image without the "_huge" in its name, at the usual size.
- The unexpected size was at first interpreted as being part of the joke, see the discussion page.
- The idea was that the reader was only seeing an inconvenient subset of the magnified image on the screen, just like Cueball was experiencing an inconvenient subset of the magnified sky through the zoom of his camera lens.
- It seems, however, that it wasn't meant to be like this, as both the size and name of the image were later corrected.
- Alternatively the size gave people trouble with reading the page, and made Randall change his mind and reset it to normal size.
- It seems weird he would make a "_huge" version by mistake?
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