Have you been fooled by a photoshopped bird? You know the ones I mean – bird photos that look so extraordinary, where the birds seem very unique or unusual, but the photos themselves seem professional and authoritative. We love to believe the extraordinary and we naturally trust our eyes, so when we see the outrageous, we tend to believe it. After all, we saw it with our own eyes, so it must be true!
Photoshop Isn’t “Real”
Unfortunately, the problem with photoshopping – digital image manipulation, often to extremes – is that it isn’t at all real or true. Minor edits with any photo are commonplace and expected, but heavily altered photos can be not only misleading, but frustrating and even damaging not only for birds, but birders.
For some time, I’ve been debunking photoshopped birds, but truth be told, with my work schedule, frantic home life, volunteering, and other commitments, as well as my own personal preference to stay away from most social media other than what work demands, I don’t actually see as many of these outrageous photos as are circulating through different channels.
Submit Photos for Debunking
Just like birders often share news of rare sightings, vagrant birds, conservation opportunities, and more, I need your help! If you come across what you believe to be a photoshopped bird – or even one you know is obviously photoshopped – email me the photo so I can spread the word to others and puzzle out the bird’s true identity!
All my debunkings include as much information as possible not just to show the photo is inaccurate, but to help everyone more easily recognize such manipulation. This is not done to belittle, embarrass, or criticize photographers, photoshoppers, or anyone who may have been fooled by a photo, but only to ensure the accurate information and bird identity is available.
To date, I have tracked down and debunked some of the internet’s most notorious and widespread photoshopped birds:
This list will be continually updated as more strange and unusual birds are proven untrue – check back to stay informed on all the photoshopped birds flying around!