Thursday, December 31, 2009

The North American Woodcock

I took this picture of a dying North American Woodcock last Wednesday. At the same time the CIA spy who has been assigned to spy on me spied me making the picture. Thanks Julia!! Of all the spies from all of the different agencies whose task it is to keep up with me, you're my fave..
On this particular day last week I was doing the rounds and while rolling down 3rd Street for College I noticed a brown ball on the left hand side of the road. Curiosity drew me near and when I looked down I was surprised to see a medium sized brown, tan and black bird with an extra long beak. He was just sitting there 18" from the on coming autos racing for their 4 million. Within a minute I discovered that he was hurt and bleeding from a small puncture in his chest. I petted him with the back of my hand. He shook a bit and tried to flap his wings but they only moved weakly in flailing fashion. This was one of the most unique looking birds that I have ever seen in the Uptoon area and I felt compelled to get it out of the road. It was going to die from whatever injuries it had but I did not want it to happen under the wheel of an auto viper.
Straddling my bike I leaned over and scooped the wounded bird around his wings and body in my mitten covered left hand. He felt hallow and warm in the transfer as he looked up at me with a wide open sun lit eye. I rode with him in my mitt down 3rd for the park behind the Grant Thorton building where I knew I could find him a safe from car place in the sun. Within seconds I could feel his warm blood on my pointer and middle fingers. Through the fleece mitt and onto my skin, the bird's blood was slippery and at that point still alive. I found him a spot being warmed by the sun and set him down on the ground. At that point I was literally late for work so I said, "So long" and moved on.
An hour later after finishing my jobs I retrieved my camera and rode back to the park hoping that the bird would be okay and had gone on with his bird life. Deep down I knew that would not be the case. When I got to the spot he was holding on with a bit of light in his eyes and shallow breathing. I began to make his portrait and through the lens his life expired on the third shutter.
Later that day after struggling to ID the unique bird that I had found in the Jar I contacted Botzie who knows more about birds than anyone I know. From my description he suggested that it may be a North American Woodcock but that he would have to see the body to be sure. Ironically enough he was near the park when I called hours after I had left it and he made his way there. Within 15 minutes my phone rang, "Bingo!", he said, "It's a North American Woodcock and a fine specimen indeed." Botzie had only seen one other Woodcock in his entire life and he seemed impressed that he was looking at another one even though it was no longer alive. This bird is a rare sight to begin with considering it is a shore line ground bird that lives mainly in coastal forests. The Woodcock's beak is flexible for navigating small holes in search of earthworms, their fooding of choice.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Twas wundrin why you had a pic of a 'doodle on your blog.