Mountain Lions & Ivory-billed Woodpeckers.

Sometimes I get lost in the woods. Not literally. Hell, you walk a mile in any direction and there’s a suburban road. I mean lost in thought.

Yesterday, I thought of James P. McMullen’s book, “Cry of the Panther.” This is because my wife clipped an item from the Chicago Sun Times about a mountain lion in the nearby suburb of Lake Forest.

McMullen, a 2-fisted ex-soldier lost himself in the Everglades purposely until he could find a panther, and peace of mind.

If a panther—or mountain lion—could be in my neck of the woods, why not an Ivory-billed Woodpecker? Both species are believed extinct around here. Both like large tracts of wilderness. And both had sparked rumors.

There have been believable reports of Ivory-bills in Arkansas. Our latest mountain lion report was believable, too, because it wasn’t the first. In 2008, a big male was gunned down in Chicago on its way to Lincoln Park Zoo, drawn by the scent of females.

As I hung around, lost in the woods, there were things to see…

Cedar Waxwings filled a tree. A Northern Flicker took off, flashing a white rump, like deer do when they run away. Goldfinches lost color, renouncing sex for the year. Juncos were jumpy, ready for winter. Late, lost warblers were inscrutable. Downy and Red-bellied Woodpeckers were antsy.

Almost got a ticket...

Almost got a ticket…

Just because I didn’t see an Ivory-bill or lion didn’t mean they weren’t there.

In the 1977 film, “Close Encounters…” nerve gas made birds drop from trees like rain. If you’d looked in those trees earlier, you’d have said no birds were in them.

See, you never see all that’s there.

If extinct midwestern lions are in town, why couldn’t extinct Ivory-bills be here along with their Pileated Woodpecker cousins? I know the Pileateds are around. Almost got a ticket chasing one.

Standing in deep leaves and dim yellow light, I was thinking all this. Didn’t see an Ivory-billed Woodpecker or a mountain lion. But I’m thinking they saw me.

2 Responses to “Mountain Lions & Ivory-billed Woodpeckers.”

  1. Liz J. B. says:

    We have same thing here in Michigan…there are mountain lions in the u.p. but they say there is not…….then why do so many folks see them 🙂

  2. Georgy says:

    I hope so – it’s such a great thought –
    and a great blog, too
    thank you.