Jumping To Conclusions
But are they extinct with a capital E? Is there still hope? Are these confounded Ivory-billed woodpecker sightings true?
Who the heck knows...
Still, you can't help but get that sick feeling in the pit of your stomach now that the Ivory-billed is being called the Elvis bird. When a hopeful sighting of the missing woodpecker comes in from the Arkansas "Big Woods" it never arrives with a picture. Usually the lucky person who spots the world's rarest bird somehow fails to drop their binoculars and pick up their camera in time. There's more evidence of Sasquatch.
Cornell University has verified a 2005 video, the Luneau tape, as having an Ivory-billed woodpecker in it. This is the only visible proof that these birds survived into the new millennium. Cornell has justly earned its considerable reputation and their analysis of this vaunted video rivals anything done to the much clearer film of the Kennedy Assassination. On the reliability of their findings valuable resources were rushed to aid what may have been the last Ivory billed woodpeckers then on the planet. It hasn't gone so well since.
Even Cornell's desperate $50,000 reward for a verified sighting remains unclaimed after years. Why not make it a $5,000,000 reward? Wouldn't it be worth it to possibly save a species? I wonder if Cornell U would pay on a Cuban Ivory-bill Woodpecker if any there survive?
Undernourished hopes are all we have that our collective conscience can avoid the stigma of having been on watch when these birds ended their existence. The deathwatch is agonizing.
Scientist postulate it would take a minimum twenty or so Ivory billed woodpeckers to repopulate the now regenerating forest.
If they are still hanging on: God help them and forgive us.
A short video describing the high tech search techniques.
I was sitting on the couch, the window open, with camera in hand shooting front yard feeder shots when a male Pileated woodpecker landed in the maple tree. My eyes got as big as flying saucers. The prosperous Pileateds are less fussy about their old growth forest requirements than their unfortunate cousins, the Ivory-bills and Imperials were. This handsome bird came back around over the next day thrilling Suzanne and I with great looks and photographic opportunities.We never saw the female. Believe me, my camera was never far from my hand all weekend long.
Here's hoping someone in the Old South collects that 50 G's for a similar capture of an Ivory-billed very soon!
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