The Parklands

The Parklands: Where Catfish Fall Out of the Sky

The second Saturday in May (not to be confused with the one a week earlier) is an important date on the calendar of every birder. It is the Global Big Day–an effort by the renowned Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology to get as many people out birding in as many different places around the world to see as many birds as possible.

Here in Louisville, the Beckham Bird Club organized a county-wide effort to cover the best birding spots in our community. Naturally, that included The Parklands.

By the end of the day, nearly 140 species had been seen in Jefferson County. Of those, 82 were seen somewhere – often in multiple parks – in The Parklands. A detailed analysis is still to come, so it is not yet known how many species were seen in The Parklands and nowhere else.

We do know this: The Parklands contributed the only flying catfish of the day. (Sadly, it didn’t count in the total.) This is what went down:

Two Beckham Bird Club members were birding along Floyds Fork just downstream of the North Beckley Paddling Access. They were startled by the sound of something crashing down through the trees above their heads.

Looking up, they saw a Great Blue Heron flying past. Looking down, they saw a foot-long catfish that had missed their heads by a few feet.

The birders found this unprovoked act of heron hostility so unsettling that they completely forgot to take a picture. But trust me, it happened.

The scene of the “incident”.


Andrew Melnykovych began birding at age 10 and has birded seriously for about half the intervening 55 years. He is the field trip coordinator and vice president of the Beckham Bird Club.