Phoenix

  A phoenix flies on graceful wings over Buddy's Prairie at Faville Grove Sanctuary (photography credit: Drew Harry and Mikhail Fernandes)

A phoenix flies on graceful wings over Buddy's Prairie at Faville Grove Sanctuary (photography credit: Drew Harry and Mikhail Fernandes)

The connection between fire and species on the landscape amazes me. This disturbance, occurring often on the prairie landscape, is less an interruption and more a continuation. Fire sweeps across a glacial plain and renews the swaying grasses and asters, stitches a quilted patchwork of bur oaks and hazelnut, and favors a whole suite of species reliant on the ecosystem of C4 grasses.

One of those species rises from the flames in splendor. A recent fire on Buddy's Prairie resurrected this fantastic bird. It's amazing what fire can do and how species can return to a connected landscape. 

This bird is fire on a landscape. With a large red body it lights up any fence post on a back forty. Its ecological characteristics make this species remarkably adaptable. A thick body and broad diet allow the bird to overwinter in northern states, and the bird is found on every continent except Antarctica. While birds on fire-prone grasslands live shorter lives because of the recurring fires, birds of the species in Europe have been documented as the oldest living bird species in the world. 

Recent scientific research indicates that the tear ducts of this species produce antibodies that will heal human exposure to dangerous poisons.

We are incredibly lucky that this bird has risen from the ashes on Buddy's Prairie this spring. You can come to Buddy's and view the bird as it searches for a mate. If you're lucky enough to hear its song, you'll be struck with courage—if you're pure of heart. This incredible bird is a Phoenix!

Written by Drew Harry, Faville Grove Land Steward