Brewster, a lone pheasant, has set up residence in a sculpture on the Streatham campus and appears to think that his own reflection is another pheasant, treating his multiple reflections in the sculpture like rivals.
University staff have named the pheasant Brewster after Sir David Brewster, a physicist mainly known for his study of optics and for inventing the kaleidoscope.
Brewster has been treating his refection like fellow pheasants, and animal behaviour experts from the University say that he mistakes them for rival pheasants who have moved into his territory.
Dr Joah Madden researches animal behaviour, often focusing on pheasants. He found that pheasants have small brains and are very likely to be run over, more so than other birds. He said that “by putting up a mirror sculpture, we have put potential opponents there and when he moves they seem to move towards him. It must be particularly disconcerting.”
Naome Glanville, the University’s Arts and Culture Co-ordinator – who can see Brewster from her office – said: “The pheasant arrived on campus this spring and has been arousing the curiosity of visitors to the University’s sculpture walk as he peers at himself in the reflected facets of the sculpture, no doubt convinced he is looking at a rival. He obviously likes the company of his reflected friend, as he has decided to stay put there. We are delighted that he feels at home on campus and has been taken into the affections of staff and students”.
The sculpture by Kenny Munro, titled “Reflected Visions”, which is outside the Bill Douglas Museum, has three double-sided mirrors.