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Falls Brush Fowl, 5/09

Ornithological history was made today as the first photographic images of the rare and elusive Falls Brush Fowl were made public.  Seldom seen and rarely heard this bird was photographed by the park’s unofficial artist in residence.  The Falls of the Ohio is the same area where the legendary John James Audubon began his drawings for his monumental undertaking, “The Birds of America”.  Audubon, however, never recorded seeing this bird.

Falls Brush Fowl, 5/09

The specimen appears to be a male in full courtship display.  This bird was not particularly wary as it strutted it’s stuff on several prominant logs and branches often in bright sunlight.  The Falls Brush Fowl is known for the fan it creates from its tail feathers, much in the manner of grouse.  Dancing gingerly it trills its song into the deep underbrush, while its head is framed by a ring of pink feathers.  The exact numbers of this bird are unknown.

Falls Brush Fowl, 5/09

No response was noted from the male Falls Brush Fowl’s display.  As reclusive as the males are…the females are even more difficult to approach.  Nothing is known abouts its nest, eggs, clutch size, incubation period and chicks have never been seen.  Speculation exists that the eggs may be deposited in a hole covered with rotting vegetation.  The heat generated from the decay of leaf matter incubates the eggs, but this has never been proven.  The bird is more myth than fact and the photos are welcomed by the scientific community and the general bird-loving public.

Chestnut-sided Warbler, 5/09

Other birds noted in the area this day include:  the Chestnut-sided Warbler seen in the above photo.  Small groups of mixed species  traveled and fed together among the willow and cottonwood trees.  It was not unusual to find Yellow Warblers, Magnolia Warblers, Carolina Chickadees, and Indigo Buntings harvesting small caterpillars. 

Time Keeper and Wishing Well, 5/09

Lastly, yesterday’s figure entitled the “Time Keeper” was spotted in an a different location.  A park visitor moved the piece inside a wood structure called the “Old Colonel’s Wishing Well”…a curiousity deposited by the last high water.  I’m sure there is a story surrounding that object and if anyone out there knows it…I would love to hear it!

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