January 22, 2022

Melissa found an online group she thought I might be interested in called Arkansas Birders.  This is a “private” group with just over 9,000 members.  On Facebook private means only members of the group can see the information posted.  While anyone can find the group, there are two questions used to filter out spam accounts.   I joined several days ago and now receive information and photos from other Arkansas birders.  This lets me keep up with where different birds are gathered around the state and helps my identification skills as others post. While I am not a member of a lot of groups, this one provides entertainment and information on the local birding world.

When I looked online, I found a Facebook Group is “a place for group communication, letting people share their common interests and express their opinions.”  Groups let people join others around a common cause, issue, or activity.  The group can post photos and share content about their chosen topic.  Administrators (Admins) of the Group can designate certain members as Group Experts, and a badge appears next to their name so the group can easily identify their posts.  Both Admins and Experts have the ability collaborate on Q&A sessions, address concerns, and respond to questions.  Anybody can create and manage a Facebook Group, and you can join up to 6,000 other Groups.  That must take a long time to sort through the daily information.

Another group I joined is for my family sibs (and mom) on Messenger.  This is not only a great way to keep up with each other, but another way to share our experiences.  This week my sister posted a woodpecker which had been hammering one of the trees in her yard, along with an accompanying photo.  At first, she did not recognize the bird, but when she zoomed in on the photo, she identified it as a Pleated woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus).  Pleated woodpeckers range from northern California up into Canada and back down into much of the eastern US.  My identification book says this woodpecker ranges throughout Arkansas.  I have yet to see one. 

Thoughts:  When my sister posted the photo to our Sibs group, my brother responded, “It’s Woody Woodpecker!”  Woody Woodpecker is an animated character that appeared in theatrical short films produced by the Walter Lantz Studio and distributed by Universal Studios between 1940 and 1972.   Lantz said Woody was patterned after the noisy Acorn woodpecker (Melanerpes formicivorus) who kept him awake at night on his honeymoon.  Woody shares characteristics with the pileated woodpecker in both appearance and his characteristic laugh (ha ha ha HA ha), which resemble the pileated call.  The artistic license of the creators has caused confusion within the birding community for those attempting to classify Woody’s species.  Not every cartoon, movie, or even post is meant to be taken seriously.  Do the work.  Follow the science.  Change is coming and it starts with you.

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