Ivory Billed Woodpecker
vintage trading card
OK, I didn't see an ivory billed woodpecker. If I had, I think all sorts of universities and birding groups would be here interviewing me, since the bird is so elusive and rare. What I did see on Christmas Day at my sister-in-law's house up in Door County was a pileated woodpecker, which looks rather similar to the bird on this old card.
I've been saying I wanted to see one for several years. I'd wistfully comment that I wanted to see a pileated woodpecker and people (my aunt, the sister-in-law, whoever) always would tell me they had seen the bird. Ho hum. Where have I been? But a personal sighting eluded me. Two summers ago I thought I saw one at the top of a tree in Oregon, but I was a passenger in a car, and the look was too quick to be certain. On Christmas Day I was upstairs on the telephone to my aunt when I heard the group downstairs calling to me to look out the window, and there it was, a monster woodpecker with a red brush cut hanging on the suet feeder. Woody Woodpecker himself. I got a good look, and was well pleased.
That was a really fine gift, seeing that woodpecker. I'm fifty-nine today, with lots of Christmases and birthdays under my belt, and it's getting harder and harder to see, hear, or taste anything very new. The Christmas Day sighting of this wonderful creature was about as good a gift as I could want.