Fun activity for us to discuss

I posted this picture (seen below) on Twitter, and asked the question, "How many flowers do you see?  What math strategy would you use to answer the question?"  Let's have some fun Math Practitioners, Researchers, and Champions!  If you need more information let me know

Picture of Sunflowers


When I was getting my wildlife degree, in at least one class we did a bit of "flock estimation" -- looking at a group of birds and estimating how many were there.   

It's totally nonintuitive to me but I can always create a "block" and count how many are in that block... then expand that block to about four times its size and multiply by four to figure that out, and do that until I've covered the whole area. 

About 2 miles from me, there is what was land owned by a developer, bought by the University ... and the developers decided to plant a zillion sunflowers there.   It's been a serious morale improver as people go there and take "sunflower selfies."   


If I had to estimate the flowers I'd ignore the ones in the front... and zoom in on the more "normally" distributed. 

I'd probably have already done some research to figure out what kind of "fudge factors" to work in for sunflowers (am I likely to be over- or under- estimating?  Sunflowers aren't going to have little ones tucked underneath; do they get thinner at the edges?   Or are the consistent?) 

I tried S Jones' method for estimating the size of a flock with a photo of sunflower seeds. What's your guess, without calculation?

"flock" of sunflower seeds

I drew a 1"x1" square in the corner.

"flock" of sunflower seeds with first square

I counted 20 sunflower seeds in this square. It's a little tricky, since some are cut off and some are covered up.

"flock" of sunflower seeds with all squares

I drew a 2" x 2" green square, 4" x 4" yellow square, and a 8" x 8" orange square.

I multiplied the blue square of 20 by 4 to get 80 (green square) and by 4 again to get 320 (yellow square) and by 4 again to get 1280 seeds (total photo).

Is this how crowd estimates are done as well? Are there other methods for estimating flocks?