Baby Woodpecker by wpr1947


									Baby Woodpecker

      I saw a baby woodpecker yesterday.
      I saw a baby woodpecker yesterday!

       Can you believe it?
       I walked out of the house about 6 in the evening and I saw a red-
headed woodpecker fly up to the pecan tree. I’m never sure which is better:
for the woodpecker to be pecking on the side of the house by my bedroom
windows or pecking on the pecan tree. But yesterday it flew up midway in the
tree and began investigating the trunk.
       Then, right behind it, a little woodpecker flew into the tree. No
redhead, but the black and white markings on the wings were the same. It
flew up to the top of the tree and began tapping on a thin limb: tree trunk
for the adult; tiny limb for the little one.
       They each flew to several places on their appropriate-sized spots in
the tree, then flew away. It was a too-short viewing for me.
       I was so thrilled. I had seen a baby woodpecker!
       I’ve never seen a baby woodpecker. Wasn’t looking for one. I don’t
think I ever thought about it, but looking back, I guess I assumed young
birds stayed out of view until they were fully grown. On second thought, I
remember seeing television documentaries about some parent birds pushing
their offspring out of the nest to learn to fly. And I’ve found dead baby
birds on the ground.
       But I’d never seen a young bird alongside its parent learning how to
       I noticed that it didn’t come alongside its parent on the main trunk of
the pecan tree, but found a thin limb that was more the size of its own beak.
       I’m so grateful to have seen a baby woodpecker with its parent in the
pecan tree. (Peterson’s Field Guide to Western Birds says that parents are
similarly colored, so I don’t know if this was the male or female parent.)

      If I am to learn from creation, as I know we must, I ask what it is I
am to learn from this close encounter with the woodpeckers.
      Most important, I think, is the fact that I saw them. If I weren’t
here, I wouldn’t have seen them. If I weren’t at least open to seeing things
(and oh, I can’t imagine all that I miss,) I wouldn’t have seen them.
       Seeing creation is critical for humans right now. If we human beings
don’t see creation – see it deeply and in detail - we will lose our place in it.
We must notice, respect and value every single part in the great web of life
in which we all live and depend.
       And there was another important teaching in the goings-on in that
pecan tree last evening. During the brief presence of the woodpeckers,
there was a mockingbird sitting on a branch of the pecan tree, singing,
singing, singing.
       I had heard that mockingbird for the first time last week. When I
lived in town, there was a mockingbird that came to sing atop our tv antennae
every spring and I loved its company, its song.
       When this one showed up last week, I was thrilled and I asked it to
stay. Who knows if that, because of our connectedness, and, because I
asked, so far, it has.
       And so as I was watching the woodpeckers, I was mindful that the
mockingbird was also in the tree singing its many songs, the many songs of
the bird world. When the woodpeckers flew away, I turned my eyes to it and
smiled my respect and gratitude.
       The mockingbird sings the song of diversity. It is a song we must hear.

                                                     Pat Hoerth
                                                     3 April 2008

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