Thursday, August 11, 2016

The Ivory-Billed Woodpecker

Campephilus principalis (ivory-billed woodpecker) male

This is the Ivory-billed Woodpecker. Until 2005, everyone thought this critically endangered bird was extinct. Then in 2005, it was spotted in Arkansas. It lives in old pine forests of southeastern America, and hopefully Cuba. More about Cuba in a minute. 

This woodpecker lost most of its habitat in the 1800s when people moved into the old forests and cut down the trees. By the 1900s, there were only a few left. Then it looked like there weren't any. So, in 1994 wildlife experts thought they were all extinct. Everyone thought they were gone forever, but in 2005 someone took a video of one in an Arkansas forest and the race was on to find it.  

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology, that's bird science, set off to find it. They searched and searched. Look here. Some of the searchers thought they spotted a couple. There was even a scratchy video taken of one on a tree. But it just wasn't enough. Even after all the searching, there was no real evidence to prove the Ivory-billed Woodpecker was still alive. That is where Cuba comes in. A team went to Cuba in January. See their journals here

They didn't find the woodpecker either, but they still hope its out there.  You know, there are still some old forests in Arkansas. People there still believe it's alive. They even have pictures of it on some license plates! 

Remember: "Some think it's cool, but I think it's cruel" 

Photo By James St. John [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons