a historical note on a certain woodpecker
- "This autumn's movement of this woodpecker is starting out on a grander scale
than we have seen." a recent interpretation of reports by a distinguished
Monterey County birder.
Almost 200 years ago, on May 27, 1806, the co-leader of a famous expedition
described a new specimen, a "black woodpecker...the throat is of fine crimson
red...the belly and breast is a curious mixture of white and blood red...wings
and tail are of a sooty black...top of the head black...with a glossey tint of
green in a certain exposure," the first record of the bird just mentioned by
Don Roberson, from p. 367, the late Stephen Ambrose's "Undaunted Courage," the
retelling of Merriweather Lewis' explorations of the American West, during
which he recorded around fifty species of birds, including, of course, the above
bird, "Lewis's Woodpecker."
And let us not dwell too much on the fact that Lewis, like Audubon, lacked a
pair of binoculars, and with that, otherwise made his observations.
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
- Alan Birnbaum wrote:
...Lewis, like Audubon, lacked a pair of binoculars, and with that,
otherwise made his observations.
I stumbled across yet more evidence of what amazing eyesight the old
timers posessed: Nutall c.1840 guide points out that the unmistakable
fieldmark of the Meadow Lark ["American Starling"] is the notch at the base
of the tongue.
Or perhaps he could point something else in the bird's direction? ;-}
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