Review: LEA14 – The Art of Birding in Second Life

Features hundreds of different types of flying birds using different Second life techniques to make large flocks of birds.

The owl landing on its perch at LEA14

The owl landing on its perch at LEA14

The holiday season is finally out of the way and I hope all went well for you and that you had a peaceful, joyful Christmas and a Happy New Year.

For my part I have had family over from abroad and so my SL activities have been somewhat curtailed, but things are returning to normal now and so I am able to start enjoying my SL again.

One of the things we did while the family was here was to visit the local RSPB Wildlife Reserve, and I was fortunate enough to be able to add a White-Tailed Eagle to my “Have Seen” list. I have a love of wildlife, and birds in particular, so was delighted when Danny told me that he had seen a post on Facebook about the latest Linden Endowment for the Arts Exhibit…. “LEA14 – The Art of Birding in Second Life“.

As soon as the opportunity arose we headed off to see what it was all about, and we weren’t to be disappointed.

The exhibit is modelled like the San Francisco Palace of Fine Arts (for those who have ever been there) and is sponsored by the sim “Phaze Demesnes”, run by Ferd Frederix and Wavinggirlsav Voom.

Within the pavilion a Notecard is available giving information about more of Ferd and Wavy’s sims, and there is a “talking” bust of Ceasar which will answer your questions about birds, and possibly any other subject you may wish to throw at it, although I make no guarantees about that. In my experience though it does seem to have a reasonable knowledge of the “Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy”, so it isn’t stupid, although it did appear to be suffering from some server problems while we were there.

“The statue of Caesar at the center of the exhibit is a 3-D interface to a bird database and a knowledge base for computing answers using the collected knowledge of the past 2,000 years. It accepts completely free form, natural language input to produce speech and face motions.”

From the landing point in the pavilion one steps out onto a simple circular path which takes you around a bright representation of a wildfile park, and the sights and sounds of birds are to be found everywhere… birds and bees, fairies, and more…

I hope this isn't an omen ....

I hope this isn’t an omen ….

As soon as you leave the pavilion you become really aware of just how many birds occupy the exhibit, as the pigeons in front of you take flight and circle around you obscuring your view of the flamingoes and, possibly, the owl.

Parrot Photo Spot

Parrot Photo Spot

There are strategically positioned posts along the side of the pathway indicating “Photo Spots” which highlight some of the exhibits, but with no “Keep off the Grass” signs and the ability to cam wherever you please I would say just take your time and use the facilities at you disposal to explore what Ferd and Wavy have created here. It was only by doing that I discovered the Robins nest up in a tree while Danny and I were sat on a bench taking in some of the views.

Robins nest

Robins nest

One has to feel a little sorry for the poor squirrel once he/she is spotted by the owl, but there is thankfully an endless supply of squirrels in SL so at least we know that the owl will never go hungry.

As your journey continues around the park you will get used to the fact that the birds you encounter have their own limits as to how close they will allow you to get before taking to the wing, and you can agitate a few of each flock by creeping up to them, teasing them eventually into flight. This, to me, is so clever and really does simulate the way birds behave in real life, although unlike real life they make no attempt to avoid you in flight and can give you quite a bump as they knock you out of the way…

Incoming !

Incoming !

Upon reviewing Ferd’s video of the exhibit I realise that there were some things we missed, but that really is no surprise as there is so much going on all around you. Further visits will be needed and they will be just as enjoyable as yesterday’s, that I know, and probably just as full of surprises.

Ferd Frederix himself ... an avatar to die for !

Ferd Frederix himself … an avatar to die for !

We were also fortunate enough to meet Ferd himself while we were there as he and Wavy were making some adjustments to the exhibit, and I cannot end this post without highlighting the fact that all the birds, bees,and other “animals” are FREELY AVAILABLE at Ferd and Wavy’s “Phaze Demesnes”… yes, FREE !! ….

I am always amazed not only by the ingenuity of some of the inhabitants of Second Life but also their generosity, and Ferd and Wavy are no exception. We will certainly be visiting their sim to enjoy more of their creations and enhance our own home with some of their beautiful work.

All in all this is a very enjoyable sim to spend some time in and I would thoroughly recommend it, either to use as a shop window from which to choose the birds you want for your own land, or as simply somewhere to come and relax and enjoy perhaps just sitting, watching and listening to everything that is going on.

As a final footnote… while our family were visiting we took a trip up around Loch Ness and were a little disappointed not to catch a sighting of the legendary “Nessie”. Now I could be wrong, but I think I know where she was hiding…

Enjoy!, and thank you again Ferd, Wavy and Linden Labs.

LEA14 – The Art of Birding in Second Life can be found here… http://…./LEA14/126/126/44
Ferd’s Introductory Video for the exhibit can be found here…