Thursday, April 28, 2005

L'Chaim, Campephilus principalis!

Some days there's actually good news to report: Ivory-Billed Woodpeckers Sighted .


bls said...

I find this really interesting. It seems that this bird has been thought extinct for 50 years!

Did they go underground or something? How is that nobody's seen or heard from them in half a century. Woodpeckers are noisy and you know when they're around. And this is a big one. I wonder if they went to some new, more congenial area, and that's why?

But I'm thrilled. I'm a bird rehabber in the summer and it's always great to get good avian survival news.

LutheranChik said...

Kewl! What kind of birds do you rehab? We have a guy in our area who specializes in raptors and related birds...he's got hawks, owls, a turkey vulture.

With a disclaimer that I know nothing about the flora and fauna of Arkansas (okay, I'm pretty ignorant of the southern states in general, but I was suprised to learn that Arkansas had forests of any kind, let alone old-growth ones)...yeah; I don't understand how these birds could have slipped under the radar for so many years. (But thank God they did.) And ivory-billed woodpeckers are HUGE -- almost a three-foot wingspread, someone told me. Our local pileateds, which seem big enough when they barrel past the kitchen window, are like midgets compared to these birds, it seems.

But this was indeed great news. I work with a couple of fellow birders -- we're the kind of people who think that sitting in the woods at the crack of dawn looking for birds is a perfectly fine way to spend a Saturday morning...our bemused coworkers walk wide arcs around us when we start waxing rhapsodic about all the interesting species we saw on the way to work -- and when I read this news report I immediately e-mailed them: "IT'S ALIVE! IT'S ALIVE!" They too were tickled.)

More cheery bird news...I saw a pair of sandhill cranes today on the way to church. They flew over the road -- they too are HUGE; really an awesome sight. And they have a very prehistoric sounding call right out of "Jurassic Park" -- almost a metal-fatigue sound, not "birdlike" at all.

bls said...

And I just saw a huge Great Blue Heron while taking long drive after church. Very nice.

The place I work in the summer has raptors as its focus. They have many different species as permanent residents, those who are too badly injured to be released, or too tame. Some are breeding pairs; the great snowy owls have hatched a dozen or so babies that were later taken to Canada and released. These birds take on the role of surrogate parents when juveniles of the same species are brought in, too.

But I don't work with them; none of the volunteers do. I work with the passerines and waterfowl only; usually these are orphaned songbirds or ducklings. Fallen or turned-up nests, that sort of thing. A couple of thousand of these come through each year, if I remember right. So it's cardinal, starling, sparrow, waxwing, bluejay, and robin babies, mostly, and mallard ducklings. Sometimes we get something exciting, like a kingfisher or a flycatcher, or even a great blue heron.

bls said...

(That should be just, "snowy owls." They're great, but not officially.)