A Song for May 10

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Click the sonogram to hear and see the sound.

I heard a loud call coming toward me from the west slope of the valley and swung the microphone to pick it up. The rest is above. I hope you will share my excitement at the discovery it was a Black Woodpecker, the Eurasian equivalent of North America's Pileated Woodpecker. I was unprepared for the "flight call" given as the bird redirected its flight path, apparently having seen a hawk overhead. In my experience, the Pileated does not have such a call. A check of the featured vocalizations on eBird suggests that this call is unique to the Black Woodpecker.

The world has six species of large, crested, largely black woodpeckers in the genus Dryocopus. Europe, Asia, and both Americas have them, but Africa does not. Australia has no woodpeckers at all, nor do New Zealand, New Guinea, and Madagascar. The Pileated Woodpecker has become common in the United States, after having been rare in my youth in the middle of the last century. I have not given up hope that the Ivory-billed Woodpecker will pull off the same trick. Many species, including Home sapiens have survived extreme population bottlenecks.

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