Nature Stories

I woke this morning to the strangely thrilling news that the ivory-billed woodpecker may not be extinct. I’ve been aware of ivory-bills from my childhood; I have a vague memory (Mom can check me on this) that the family copy of Roger Tory Peterson’s A Field Guide to the Birds included a picture of the ivory-bill beside the pileated woodpecker, with a pencilled “X” beside it. (Margaret and I saw a pileated woodpecker in our neighbor’s back yard in Princeton; it was a wonderful, exciting moment.)

And from the sublime to a pond in Germany, toads are exploding for no discernible reason. “[C]ity residents have been warned to stay away from the pond” — advice that I imagine is pretty easy to obey.

5 thoughts on “Nature Stories

  1. Biblical/theological take on exploding toads? Sign of the apocalypse? Tipping point?

    I think this is one of the subjects that should be given 360 degree blogospheric coverage on MSNBC. Perhaps they might offer you a spot! ;^)

    It Might Be Important!

    (On a related note, there was a wonderful story on the ivory-billed woodpecker on Morning Edition today. Though I’m sure this news will be used in some quarters to disparage environmentalists, the Endangered Species Act, and global climate change.)

  2. There was a long essay in the New Yorker a couple of years ago about researcher’s efforts to document whether or not that woodpecker is extinct.

  3. I don’t remember the illustration in Peterson’s, but I don’t doubt it. I think the “find” is very exciting but I hope all the thousands of Birdwatchers who want to see him and go flocking to Arkansas don’t scare him to death!

  4. Great news! I’m a bird rehabber during the summer months, and am always interested in news like this. I’ve seen many pileateds lately, in fact, which were at one time rare around here. I think the environmental regulations have had an effect, actually.

    Amazing that the ivory-billed species could go “underground” for more than 50 years, though. I wonder why none have been seen in all that time?

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