Is the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker Really Extinct?
Hope has lingered that they might still survive in the southernUnited States, or even Cuba, but "sightings" have usually beenascribed to the similar, wide-spread, Pileated Woodpecker.(See John Audubon's depictions for comparison.)
A recent report in 1999 was persuasive enough to send aninternational team into Louisiana's Pearl River Wildlife Management Area and adjacent woodlands this winter tocomb the protected area.
After a month long search, by late February there was no conclusive proof that the Ivory-Bill still exists. There was an oddment, however, that keeps hope alive:
In January, members of the search team heard a series of double raps characteristic of the Ivory-Billed, and none other. A Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology reearch team heard it, too, in the same area, as did others. Although there were possible nesting cavities in the area, the bird was not seen, nor did investigators hear its call.
Hope remains for this most spectacular of American birds. Cornell Lab has left recording devices in the woods.
SOURCES: "Searchers Say Rare Woodpecker Was Possibly Heard," by James Gorman, The New York Times, February 21, 2002, page A16; "Biology: Encouraging Signs But No Woodpecker," Science News, March 2, 2002, Vol. 161, page 141.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, VISIT: http://www.zeiss.de/C1256AF70046CD9F for updates on the search.For a list of lost species and the last date they were reliably seen, visit: http://www.abcbirds.org/international/last_seen.htm