Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Percolation on selected avian adventures, or, Do we really know what's out there?

My mind is still percolating from the recent gathering of the Sterling Morton Library’s book discussion group, Leafing Through the Pages. We met last Thursday to discuss Tim Gallagher’s The grail bird : hot on the trail of the Ivory-billed woodpecker. Since I spent a childhood immersed in the antics and activities of Woody the Woodpecker, I felt some sort of kinship with this mysterious grand bird. Gallagher writes a compelling story that found me wanting to jump into an El Camino, speed down to the Big Woods and assist in the search! After my brief spell of Ivory-billed woodpecker fever abated, I decided it was late, I didn’t have an El Camino and actually I’m not fully confident of my ornithological skills.

During our group’s discussion, we pondered several questions. The tale of this bird’s disappearance and recent reappearance (I write with confidence) presents a cautionary tale for our natural world. What are we willing to give up? How do our actions affect others? What do we really know and understand about our earth?

Here are some additional resources about the Ivory-billed woodpecker:
The Search for the Ivory-billed Woodpecker from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology
Ivory-billed Woodpecker Rediscovered in Arkansas from NPR
The Search for the Ivory-billed Woodpecker from the Nature Conservancy
Ivory-billed Woodpecker – entry from Wikipedia

Whether you are visiting the Big Woods or the Arboretum's East Woods, stop by the Sterling Morton Library to take a gander at our wonderful birding collection!

No comments: