Asking the, er, Expert

My cranky old laptop has been replaced by a (literally) shiny new one so posting will be returning to its normal regularity soon.  To tide you over until the fabulous post I have planned for tomorrow, I thought I’d share an email I received today.

In the upper right-hand corner of this page, underneath the header, you will note a link that says “Contact.”  Until today no one had ever actually used it to contact me.  Then this afternoon I found the following in my inbox from a man named Jim Brown.

I live in Columbus Ohio and was eating lunch today looking into the backyard and saw a strikingly beautiful bird about the size of a Bluejay, red strip on the top to the back of its head and a beautiful black and white rough striped back. I searched the web and came across your site. I’m almost certain the bird was a Gila Woodpecker. Unfortunately wasn’t able to get a photo but will keep my eyes open. From what I read these reside in the American Southwest. No clue how this guy got up here. Are you aware of any other birds that look about the same?

My stats page tells me that someone came to my blog today by searching the phrase “is there another bird that looks like the gila woodpecker”; presumably that was Mr. Brown, who would have been led to this recent post.  Anyway, I wrote him back and told him that his bird was probably the closely-related (and abundant in Ohio) Red-bellied Woodpecker.

To be honest, I was quite tickled by the whole thing.  Me, an online expert on bird identification!  Ha.  In any case, I hope Mr. Brown emails me back to tell me whether or not he decides his bird was indeed a Red-bellied Woodpecker.  Who knows, maybe this avian encounter will be the spark that sucks him into the world of birdwatching.  Next thing you know he’ll be spending money on field guides and feeders and binoculars.  Birds are like potato chips, you can’t identify just one…

2 replies on “Asking the, er, Expert”

Absolutely! I think what hooked me was a towhee mysteriously appearing at our backyard feeder when I was a kid. Anyway, funnily enough, later today a friend of mine described a mysterious bird she’s seen in Utah and completely stumped me. So much for the expert.

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