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EskimoCurlew_OhMyGod_Feltner_Ben_HerefordAZ_16October2020_Reel4037.mp3

Ben Feltner [00:00:01] Dudley was my high school friend and I was trying to teach him about birds that I had found and he had never seen a whimbrel. So we were on Galveston looking for whimbrels. We found a number of whimbrels.

Ben Feltner [00:00:19] And I was coming back in from the west end of Galveston. And I saw this curlew at the side, practically at the side of the road. It was near a fence post and no more than, oh, I would say fifteen yards from the car. And it was totally different to me. It was totally different from a whimbrel. It was smaller, had a finer beak, and I took down a description of it at the time.

Ben Feltner [00:00:54] And told Dudley that I thought it was an Eskimo curlew. But what I had read about Eskimo curlews was they were extremely rare, and one shouldn't try to tell them, unless one knew whimbrels thoroughly. And I was just familiar with them, but I wouldn't say thoroughly.

Ben Feltner [00:01:17] But when I looked at that bird, I knew it wasn't a whimbrel. And the only other thing that I could think it could be was Eskimo curlew. At that time, I did not know about the little curlew in Australia, which since then, I've seen many of.

Ben Feltner [00:01:36] But that was in the days before there were people carrying phones around and I didn't know who to contact. So after I saw the bird, we went tearing back down the island and the first house we came to, I knocked on the door and a young lady came and I just, I told her I'd just seen a very rare bird. "Do you know anybody that's interested in birds?" She said, "My mother is." And then she said, "But she's out." So anyway.

Ben Feltner [00:02:12] So I ended up driving all the way back to Houston and I had just joined the Houston Outdoor Nature Club. Sounds a little bit like a nudist colony, but it's not, in fact.

Ben Feltner [00:02:26] And they had what they called an ornithology group. And the man that wrote the monthly paper was Mr. Henry Hoffman, and I called him up, and spoke to him on the phone. And I described this bird to him. I didn't say what I thought it was. I described this bird. And he said, "Oh, my God. That must have been a Eskimo curlew!"

Ben Feltner [00:02:58] So, that was the way it got started really.