Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Crossing Another Off the List

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.


Carol said...

YOU GO, GIRL. There's nothing like a new little flash of nature (especially BIRDS) to get the creative juices going. What a wonderful birthday gift - and the painting was your gift to us.

Judybec said...

Way to go -- let's hear it for Woody Woodpecker!!!!
Happy happy birthday Sherry! and keep those eyes pealed -- there's lots of "new" stuff out there...somewhere!

Charlene Brown said...

I was thrilled to see a woodpecker in Alberta (a Downy, according to my son-in-law's Peterson guide iphone app) on Christmas day as well! He was nowhere near as spectacular as your pileated friend, but a treat nonetheless.

And we have something else in common... we've just returned from celebrating our 39th wedding anniversary. We must have been married on your twentieth birthday! I hope you had better weather than we had - 29 December 1970 was the coldest day of the coldest winter in the history of Ottawa!