Friday, April 29, 2005

Ivory-billed Woodpecker

That’s exciting! I wish I had been the first person to spot the ivory-billed woodpecker. I can just imagine what it would have been like to be there, and see this huge bird for the first time in my life. Incredible! I’ll only ever see it in photos.

The woodpecker was spotted last year in a swamp of the Cache River National Wildlife Refuge in Arkansas, after having been long-thought extinct. This information was just revealed, having been kept a secret while agencies made every effort to confirm the discovery.

I am definitely not an ornithologist, although I knew someone who worked at the Cornell Ornithology Lab. I am not even a bird-watcher, although I like to watch birds. I have always loved watching the numerous species of birds in my parents’ backyard, and my two daughters’ yards, on the East Coast. I have been to many public gardens where hummingbirds abound, and I was enthralled. Some of my fondest camping memories were of the birds in the woods in the Southern states, especially Kentucky. Waking up in the morning, with the forest filled with birdsong, was an experience I can still feel. The woodpeckers, cardinals, blue jays, and all of the other species filled the days with wonder.

I have the Audubon Baby Elephant Folio, and the woodpecker is in there in all his glory, with a couple of lady friends. A twenty-inch wingspan makes for one big woodpecker.


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