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a historical note on a certain woodpecker

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  • SiriusGuy@aol.com
    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
    Message 1 of 2 , Oct 7, 2003
      "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.


      Alan Birnbaum
      Fresno, CA





      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Richard Mix
      Alan Birnbaum wrote: ...Lewis, like Audubon, lacked a pair of binoculars, and with that, otherwise made his observations. I stumbled across yet more evidence
      Message 2 of 2 , Oct 12, 2003
        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? ;-}

        Richard Mix
        El Cerrito

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