Birdberg Blotter: Bayou battle

Copyright 2006 Ben S. Pollock

NEWS ITEM (Click for introduction)

Two rangers at Cache River National Wildlife Refuge report breaking up a war between two flocks of woodpeckers. One ranger claimed they fought like in West Side Story.

First ranger said a darker, smaller gang had as many as 24 members, apparently Pileated Woodpeckers, according to field book. Gang of four larger yet faster woodpeckers with more white on wings held them at bay.

Field book appendix confirmed those four were Ivory-billed Woodpeckers, thought extinct. “That’s why they was so mad,” Ranger A reported.

Ivory-bills won in second overtime. Lead male flew down, picked up pine cone in beak and “spiked it.” Then, “I be dogged but he danced an aerial jig,” reported Ranger A.

Inspection of marsh showed that pileated ‘peckers did suffer casualties, but abundant numbers show as a species they’re in no danger from resurgence of ivory bills.

Ranger B told the shift supervisor they arrived at scene after confiscating a “mess of mescal bottles” at picnic pavilion. Noted all grubs from the bottles missing but some still had lots of liquor in them. Confirmed type of beverage by testing manually because analysis kit left at headquarters.


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