Is it really Woody? | News
SMITH COUNTY, TX (KLTV)- Recently we brought you a story about a nest of great horned owls. We have another bird to tell you about, and this one is so rare that bird experts are wondering if it's extinct.
We're not ornithologists, but we did manage to get a few good shots of those owls, so it was time to do some more bird watching.
Dave Gabbard says he's seen an animal that is critically endangered: the ivory-billed woodpecker. It's been years since one has been documented in the wild. Dave says he saw one yesterday.
"The reason I know it was an ivory-billed woodpecker is because two weeks ago I saw a program on The Learning Channel talking about it, and that is exactly what I saw in this tree behind us. I saw it last year about a half a dozen times, and at that time I hadn't seen that program so I didn't know what I was looking at," Dave said.
I had poked around on the internet about the bird and found something I printed for him. The bird is so rare that Cornell University is offering a pretty big reward for proof of its existence.
"This ain't no joke?" Dave asked me.
"No," I replied.
"I found him. God up above as my witness, I'm telling you it was an ivory-billed woodpecker ," Dave stated.
Dave says he got a few shots of it on his cell phone, but the quality wasn't very good. I was about to look at them when...guess what showed up?
"Oh, he just..." Dave trailed off as the woodpecker flew away.
As I wondered if that was enough of a shot to prove anything, and Dave was on the phone to his wife, Woody came back.
"Oohh," Dave commented.
"Is he still out there?" Dave's wife's voice came over the phone.
"Oh, yeah. He's beautiful, he's beautiful," Dave said.
The woodpecker took a minute to find the perfect spot, and started doing his thing: pecking.
There's really nothing in the tree to give scale, but, to me, it looked over a foot tall. It climbed around the tree for about twenty minutes before it flew off. Maybe it wanted a little sweet gum tree for desert.
And, as for Dave, he's glad he got someone with a good lens to witness his bird. He also says he's definitely going to check out the validity of the reward.
We have contacted a Texas Parks and Wildlife game warden about the woodpecker. He says it looks pretty close, but he's forwarding the pictures to other experts in the field before he commits to an answer.