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Thunderbird question
posted Wed, Dec 22 2004, 9:23pm
I understand that the thunderbird is generally considered to be a huge raptor of some sort, but I have a recollection at the back of my mind that there was another association. For some reason, I recall reading that the thunderbird was based on the woodpecker, which actually produces thunder with its bill. I have no idea where I read (or saw or made up myself!) this, and it flies in the face of the descriptions used now, but it's always seemed like such an obvious association to me, that I can't get it out of my head.

Having heard a Pileated at full drill, I can easily see how an association might have been made.

Does anyone else recall seeing this somewhere and does it sound like a reasonable thing? Just wonderin'.

Re: Thunderbird question
posted Thu, Dec 23 2004, 1:57am
You're probably thinking of one of the Native American thunderbirds. Many Native American tribes, especially in the Great Plains, had mythical flying beasts classed collectively as "thunderbirds." The cryptid thunderbird was probably named after the mythical birds, but is usually described as a giant raptor.

(IMO, cryptid thunderbirds are nothing more than misidentified vultures and other known species).
Re: Thunderbird question
posted Thu, Dec 23 2004, 2:40pm
Most thunderbird stories associate the bird with weather (hence the name), although I guess it is possible for there to be more that one source for the myth. The modern "thunderbird" sightings are probably just based on turkey vultures.
Re: Thunderbird question
posted Sun, Dec 26 2004, 1:40am
I always wondered about woodpeckers. Don't they suffer brain damage by so much repeated impacts? Perhaps their brains have extra cushioning, or the brain cells constantly regenerate.

Another quesiton - Will a woodpecker in captivity just eat grubs given to it and not need to "woodpeck" anymore?
Re: Thunderbird question
(profile name not found)
posted Sun, Dec 26 2004, 11:36am
Is a layer of air-filled spongy stuff between woodpeckers' brains and skulls that keeps 'em from gettin' headaches.

Not sure about the second question, though, but my guess would be that it would keep on "woodpeckin" whether it had enough food or not.
The Heartbeat of the Earth
(profile name not found)
posted Sun, Dec 26 2004, 11:33am
Woodpeckers, especially the ivory bill and pileateds, were, in fact, considered sacred by many Native American tribes. Their fire-colored head feathers were considered symbolic of the life-giving sun by the Creek, Seminole and Cherokee tribes, and were used as good luck totems before going into battle. The huge bills of the ivory bills were also a much sought after item of trade between northern and southern Amerindian tribes.

As far as the drumming of woodpeckers is concerned, there are native spiritual beliefs here, too, but they don't have anything to do with thunder or the weather (as far as I know). Woodpeckers were also seen, by many tribes, as a connector of sorts, with their drumming thought to represent the heartbeat of the earth, a spiritual pathway connecting humans to other dimensions and realities.

I ever stumble on anything about woodpeckers and thunder I'll pass it on, but right now I'm guessin' you might be mixin' up a couple of different myths and/or legends.

Re: The Heartbeat of the Earth
posted Tue, Dec 28 2004, 3:48am
I cannot attest to the assumption that all thunderbird incidents have been from turkey vultures. Get ready guys, when I was walking back from fishing for crawdads with my bro a few years back we heard something behind us (close and obviously fast) and ducked. As we ducked I guess we looked behind us because there was A MASSIVE bird with its talons outstretched and for the life of me I honestly beleive it would have picked me up had it gotten me. But it didnt, it missed and continued flying, and I must say this is the only cryptid experience I have ever had. It loooked like a crane and had plae blue and white feathers. It flew away and that was it.
Re: The Heartbeat of the Earth
(profile name not found)
posted Tue, Dec 28 2004, 10:02am
Sure. Don't think all thunderbirds are mis-id'd turkey vultures. Some are prolly mis-id'd bald eagles (immature ones), golden eagles, great blue herons, sandhill cranes and etc. Any big bird with a substantial wingspan is a likely candidate for bein' mid-id'd as a thunderbird by someone who really wants to believe in thunderbirds and who ain't a pro ornithologist or serious birder (neither of which have ever reported seeing a thunderbird).

Re: The Heartbeat of the Earth
posted Wed, Dec 29 2004, 4:41am
All I know is a VERY large bird had it in for me.
Re: The Heartbeat of the Earth
posted Wed, Dec 29 2004, 12:42pm
Hey Zombiejones, I know how you feel, having seen an enormous bird myself that didnt match any other bird discriptions.
I dont doubt the bird was going for you. A red tailed halk flew over my dogs and I in our yard a couple of years back. He was right over my head, I could have touched him. He landed on a power line that looked way too small to hold him and he stared at us. I put the dogs in the house real fast as I had the distinct impression he would go for one of the dogs.

Re: The Heartbeat of the Earth
(profile name not found)
posted Wed, Dec 29 2004, 10:15pm
No idea what you saw. Didn't see it myself, and your description wasn't really enough to make an ID on. All I'm sayin' is that I don't believe that there are any birds with 18-foot wingspans flying around undiscovered in North America - ie thunderbirds.

Heck, nobody's even discovered a new species of North American warbler in the last 100 years, and them things are tiny and could conceivably hide almost anywhere.

Re: The Heartbeat of the Earth
posted Thu, Dec 30 2004, 5:31pm
Just remember McCall you owe me a good BarBQ when a real Thunderbird comes flying out of the wood work. I still say there are a couple of argentavis magnificans flying around out there in South America that go on a fly about every once in a while.

1. Arizona Woodpecker (Picoides arizonae) 1966
2. Gunnison Sage-Grouse (Centrocerus minimus) 1995
3. Western Spindalis (Spindalis zena)
4. Puerto Rican Spindalis (Spindalis portoricensis) 1989
5. Hispaniolan Spindalis (Spindalis dominicensis) 1988
6. Jamacian Spindalis (Spindalis nigricephala)
7. Barbuda Warbler (Dendroica subita)
8. St. Lucia Warbler (Dendroica delicata)
9. Greater Antillean Oriole (Icterus dominicensis)
10. Costa Rican Pygmy-Owl (Glaucidium costaricanum)
11. African Silverbill (Lonchura cantans) 2000
12. Chestnut Munia (Lonchura atricapilla) 2000
13. Tricolored Munia (Lonchura malacca) 2000
14. Black-and-yellow Silky-flycatcher (new sub-species-Phainoptila melanoxantha parkeri) 2000
15. Black and Yellow Silky Flycatcher (new sub-species-Phainoptila melanoxantha) 2000
16. Nazca Booby (Sula grantii) 8/2000

Not to be a smart assist McCall but there are over 100 new species in the North America territory alone. Ornithologists are in the process of DNA testing all known birds and are discovering that birds they thought were the same with little environmental changes to them are in reality completely different species and in some cases completely different genuses, just the result of parallel evolution. (I'll do anything for BarBQ.) So when argentavaivs flies over I'll trust you to be honest and give me a ring.

Species update

Pathfinder - PS. This goes back over a year ago if you don't remember. PSS-I want ribs!!!!
Re: The Heartbeat of the Earth
posted Thu, Dec 30 2004, 5:34pm
PSSS-Them thar little warblers were a hidin' under the wings of thar lookie likie cousins.

Pathfinder - RIBS!!!!!!
Re: The Heartbeat of the Earth
(profile name not found)
posted Sat, Jan 1 2005, 4:50am
Either subspecies or name-changin', Pathfinder.

But I'd surely love to be wrong on this one. Nothin' I'd like better than to grill up some ribs on this one. Absolutely nothin'. Matter of fact, I'd be happy as hell to do the rib thing, regardless as to whether or not thunderbirds exist or not (which they don't).

McCall - hopin' like heck Pathfinder is right (what kind of beer do you want, iffen you win?)
Re: The Heartbeat of the Earth
posted Sat, Jan 1 2005, 5:21pm
Well McCall, if yu looked most of the new ones weren't sub-species but actually new species confirmed by DNA.

I would love a Yaegling.

Pathfinder - who can feel the breeze off the T'birds wings as we speak
Re: The Heartbeat of the Earth
(profile name not found)
posted Sat, Jan 1 2005, 6:19pm
Looks like they's simply old species that are new to North America, to me. Range-expanding, and alla that noise. Also some o' that lumpin' and splittin' stuff in there, too, which kinda thing is goin' on alla time in the bird world.

But iffen somebody ever does find a T-bird, I'll be happy to buy you a Yuengling. Which Yuengling would you prefer?

McCall - who figgers he ain't never gonna have to put on this barbie or buy no Yuenglings, but who wishes this weren't the case (grin)
Re: The Heartbeat of the Earth
posted Wed, Jan 5 2005, 4:59am
It doesn't matter which kidn. See it's been so long since I had one I couldn't even remember how to spell it.

Re: The Heartbeat of the Earth
posted Thu, Jan 6 2005, 12:17pm

From your posts I am "guessing" you like ribs. How do you feel about Rib Country?

If'n you like the place, I'll take you there when you are recovered enough.

Your "neighbor",
Re: The Heartbeat of the Earth
posted Tue, Jan 11 2005, 11:07am
Rib Country = Heaven on Earth.

Re: The Heartbeat of the Earth
(profile name not found)
posted Thu, Jan 6 2005, 5:32pm
Don't feel bad. Only genuine beer nuts actually know how to spell "Yuengling". One of the goofiest names for a brewery that can be imagined, actually.

McCall - who wished he'd a known Pathfinder was such a dyed-in-the-wool Yuengling fancier a week or two ago
Re: The Heartbeat of the Earth
posted Wed, Jan 12 2005, 6:18pm
*bows before the amazing pathfinder*
Re: The Heartbeat of the Earth
posted Tue, Apr 5 2005, 10:11am
a great blue heron is an impressive large bird, and it does have the coloration you are describing. i always like to watch them fish. they really look otherworldly. but i have never heard of one attacking, and it's hard to even get close without them flying away. if that's what it was, i wonder what got it so ticked off?

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