travel history business blog
If you went to high school when I did, you can forget what your learned about dinosaurs going extinct. Sure, the grounded Jurassic Park version of dinosaurs are gone and mammals, including us, rose to fill their ecological niches. But the world's paleontologists, employing sophisticated modern tools and methods, have concluded over the past decades that birds are direct descendants of dinosaurs. Specifically, birds descend from the bi-pedal, meat eating theropods of Velociraptor and Allosaurus fame.
Like their theropod ancestors, birds breathe more efficiently than mammals using a lung and air sac system employed by their Jurassic for-bearers. The hollow bones that keep them light for flying come from their dinosaur predecessors, perhaps answering the question of how dinosaurs could be so big. And, if you have ever wakened to the raucous cawing and screaming of a blue heron rookery, you can easily believe that the otherworldly sounds you are hearing come from some distant Jurassic past.
You could even argue, notes Mark Norell, the paleontology curator for the American Museum of Natural History, that "we still live in the age of dinosaurs.” Bird species far outnumber mammal species. There are about 18,000 species of birds in the world, but only about 4500 of mammals.
So hiding in plain sight outside your window is the modern Jurassic world you thought was gone, flying in the air, nesting in trees, and visiting your backyard bird feeder.
So, imagine my delight after years of trying to photograph the magnificent pileated woodpecker, to find this young male (yes the red cheek strip gives him away) feasting on black ants around a fallen tree. He stayed just long enough for me to salvage my camera out of the car and attach the long lens needed to capture his image without disturbing him.
Yes, I had seen pileated woodpeckers before and heard them more often yak-yaking away in the trees or as they flew over head. Once, from the seat of a kayak, I got to watch a parent chase three young ones up a pine tree on an island in a north Georgia lake but I didn't have enough camera to capture the moment.
So, here the big fella is lunching in the mountains of north Georgia.
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The venture moola blog comes to you from Atlanta, Georgia. Find it at readjanus.com. Copyright Clinton Richardson.
Travel, history, and business with original photos.
Clinton Richardson - author, photographer, business advisor, traveler.
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