Thursday, December 20, 2007

Ivory-billed Woodpeckers!

Today I was treated to a behind the scenes opportunity to see the collection of Ivory-billed Woodpeckers at the Field Museum in Chicago. I met up with Dave Willard, the head of the bird collection there, and we pulled out 4 trays of specimens. The birds were all collected in the 1870's and 1880's from Florida, Louisiana, and Arkansas. There was one from Cuba. It was quite an experience. The birds are magnificent and I couldn't help but imagine the setting in the swamp back when they were collected.

If you're not familiar with the birds, the male is the one with the red crest. The female's is all black. They are the second largest woodpecker in the world.

I also saw specimens of Passenger Pigeon and Carolina Parakeet, both of which have been driven to extinction this past century. Hopefully the Ivory-bill story will have a different ending. It looks like I will be joining the search for them again later this winter.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Another Round From Texas

Still working through the images from my Texas trip. These are the latest, along with a fun shot that James took of me the evening we were shooting (or trying to shoot) the Avocets at his wetland.