Ivory-Billed Woodpecker: Extinct Or Not?

lopaka

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Damn. The Holy Grail of modern US orinthology/birding!!!! :spinning :yeay:

Experts: Woodpecker feared extinct found
Ivory-billed woodpecker last confirmed 60 years ago


Thursday, April 28, 2005 Posted: 10:36 AM EDT (1436 GMT)


It's just the most exciting report in my lifetime.
-- Ornithologist Frank Gill


WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- The ivory-billed woodpecker, long feared extinct, has been rediscovered in a remote part of Arkansas some 60 years after the last confirmed U.S. sighting, bird experts said Thursday.

Several people have seen and heard an ivory-billed woodpecker in a protected forest in eastern Arkansas near the last reliable sighting of the bird in 1944, and one was captured on video last year.

"The ivory-billed woodpecker (Campephilus principalis), long suspected to be extinct, has been rediscovered in the 'Big Woods' region of eastern Arkansas," researchers wrote in the journal Science in an article hastily prepared for release.

"Visual encounters during 2004 and 2005, and analysis of a video clip from April 2004, confirm the existence of at least one male."

Drumming sounds made by the birds have also been heard, the researchers said.

"This is huge. Just huge," said Frank Gill, senior ornithologist at the Audubon Society. "It is kind of like finding Elvis."

Gill said there is little doubt the sightings are genuine. The experts were expected to display some of the evidence at a news conference at the Department of the Interior later Thursday.


"The ivory-billed woodpecker is one of six North American bird species suspected or known to have gone extinct since 1880," wrote the researchers, led by John Fitzpatrick of the Cornell University Laboratory of Ornithology in New York.

"The others are Labrador duck (Camptorhynchus labradorius), Eskimo curlew (Numenius borealis), Carolina parakeet (Conuropsis carolinensis), passenger pigeon (Ectopistes migratorius), and Bachman's warbler (Vermivora bachmanii)."

Big but shy


A large, dramatic-looking bird, the ivory-billed woodpecker was known to be shy and to prefer the deep woods of the U.S. Southeast.

"Its disappearance coincided with systematic annihilation of virgin tall forests across southeastern United States between 1880 and the 1940s," the researchers wrote.

People claimed to have seen it but the bird closely resembles the pileated woodpecker, which is noisy, less shy and quite common.

More reliable sightings were reported in Cuba as late as the 1980s.

"There have been lots and lots of reports and many of them have been off but others have been possible," Gill said in a telephone interview. "But this time we got it."

The ivory-billed woodpecker was known to be shy and to prefer the deep woods of the U.S. Southeast.

Gill said the bird was seen just over the border from Louisiana where the last documented ivory-bill was seen in 1944. "As a woodpecker flies it's not far," he said.

The birds only live about 15 years so the sightings mean they must be breeding somewhere.

"There has got to be a pretty serious lineage," Gill said. "It's got to be more than a few."

People are likely to flock to the area to try to see the birds themselves but it will be difficult, Gill said.

"It is not something you just go down and see. Your odds are very low," Gill said. "It is remote, difficult country. This time of year it is getting very buggy and very snakey and there is a lot of foliage."

But the discovery may help get protection for a larger area of the Big Woods, the nonprofit Nature Conservancy said.

"This area was once the largest expanse of forested wetlands in the country, originally consisting of 21 million acres of bottomland hardwood forests. Today, only 4.9 million acres remain, mostly in scattered woodland patches," it says on its Internet Web site.

"It's just the most exciting report in my lifetime. I think we will move ... to make this a globally important bird wildlife area," Gill said.

Copyright 2005 Reuters. All rights reserved.

http://www.cnn.com/2005/TECH/science/04 ... index.html
 

krobone

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Extinct bird found in Arkansas

A woodpecker thought to be extinct for 60 years is re-discovered:

A group of wildlife scientists believe the ivory-billed woodpecker is not extinct. They say they have made seven firm sightings of the bird in central Arkansas. The landmark find caps a search that began more than 60 years ago, after biologists said North America’s largest woodpecker had become extinct in the United States.
 

rossba1

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this has put me in a very good mood! What a fantastic rediscovery. The ivorybill is a magnificent creature. There is even film of it (though blurry) on the Science website (im not sure if its public access but if someone shows me i can try and mount the .mov file)
The history of its supposed extinction is interesting and sad. The last patch of wood in mississippi where it was found in the 20s was sold to the Singer corporation who cut down all the trees- despite knowing that it was the last habitat for the bird. That was the last we knew of it till some of the same species were spotted in Cuban forest. They were never properly studied or conserved (US/cuba tension etc.). Until today the only evidence it had existed were skins, bones and some nice video footage from the 20s. It was one of the few "extinct" species to have the dubious honour of being recorded on film. Fantastic news that it is still here!
edit: On a related note I was in Louisiana in 2003 and went on a Bayou tour run by a proper cajun family. The guy that run the boat was about 80 years old and it was just him, my family and me on the boat. We asked him if he thought there were any ivorybills left. His reply: "yes, but they're very rare". I didnt think to ask him if hed ever seen one
 

lopaka

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And just to clarify for anyone who saw the headline and maybe read just a paragraph or two...this is a huge-ass bird (by woodpecker standards) we're talking about...as big as/bigger than a crow. Curiously (or not) the places where one would hear speculation about its' possible existence was in the I'on Swamp in South Caroilna, the Big Thicket (Texas) and Louisiana. Arkansas is well within its' historical range, but I hadn't been aware that the mature bottomland forest that it requires was still found there in any quantity. (unless this new evidence shows that they can adapt to secondary growth situations, which would be really exciting.)
 

Seminole10

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The Ivory Billed Woodpecker ,long determined to be extinct despite occasional unconfirmed sightings over a time period that streched over decades, has been confirmed to still maintain a breeding population in the Arkansas wetland forests.

Source


The Ivory Billed Woodpecker is a very large and colorful bird. It has remained elusive for decades in forests that could be called mere woodlots when compared to the extensive dense wilderness forests that Bigfoot calls home.

(Stu edit - altered title and tidied up the url)
 
A

Anonymous

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Exactly. There are other animals in the world that we have yet to find. Im sure not many any more though.
 

Dessie32

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Exactly. There are other animals in the world that we have yet to find. Im sure not many any more though.

There still does not mean there is a large ape living in America though.
 

lopaka

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Trying again, as my last effort was eaten by the %*^! computer.

Seminole, I thought exactly the same thing as was even going to post my thoughts. Yes, even though sasquatch a) is a LOT bigger than a bird, even the huge IBW, b) can't spend time in the air avoiding observation, c) doesn't have a primary habitat of uninviting swampland and, most importantly, as Dessie points out, d) has never been accepted by science in the first place.

All that said, however, read part of the account by one of the people involved in the search/rediscovery of the Ivory-bill:

Interestingly, in contrast to the noisy, fairly tame behavior Jim
Tanner recorded for the species in Louisiana in the 1930s, this bird
has proven incredibly shy and wary, always vanishing at the first
hint of a human. Many people -- and I include myself in this -- had
long assumed that if ivorybills survived in the U.S., someone would
have found and documented them decades ago. The fact that so many
people, backed up with technology like automated recording devices
and cameras, had such a hard time getting documentation in the Big
Woods, suggests we've been underestimating the difficulty of finding
this species. The "intensive" Pearl River search, for example,
involved six people for 30 days; most times that a sighting has been
followed up, it's been someone in a canoe poking around for a day or
two at most.
One lesson from the Big Woods is that we cannot easily
dismiss any of the reports elsewhere in the species' historic range,
especially those in South Carolina and Florida which have been
persistent for many years. I know scientists are following up on some
of those reports even as the news is trumpeted from Arkansas. Let's
all keep our fingers crossed.

http://www.birdforum.net/showpost.php?p ... stcount=51

What did the recent IBW search involve? 60 very knowlegable people in the field for 15 months over what is honestly a fairly tight geographic area. What is the evidence produced by all this time/effort/money? One sighting a month, about half of which were deemed conclusive enough to include in the Science article, some maybe/maybe not audiotape and four seconds (!!!) of videotape which if one is not an IBW expert looks like a blurry bird. This is what has garnered headlines, press reports and this (very rightly so) excitement.

So one could take the opposite position (in regards to the IBW being a recognized species and sasquatch not), that until there's someone with both the deep pockets and general resources of the Audobon Society, Nature Consrvancy, Cornell University, et al looking for Bigfoot, it's entirely reasonable that "proof" has not been forthcoming yet.

Another paralell is the absolute dismissal with which the vast majority of experts (y'know, "realists") treated the possible continued existence of the bird, even after word was spreading through the internet about the announcement from the Interior Dept! Not "I don't think it's likely" or "I doubt it, but you never know", but startng from a position of "no" and that anyone who claimed otherwise was romantic, mistaken or a hoaxer.

So, yeah, if I was a bigfoot hunter, or even being the armchair follower that I am, I take enormous inspiration from this discovery. (I mean, I do anyway, but specifically with regards to Sasquatch.) [/u]
 

Seminole10

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lopaka said:
Trying again, as my last effort was eaten by the %*^! computer.

Seminole, I thought exactly the same thing as was even going to post my thoughts. Yes, even though sasquatch a) is a LOT bigger than a bird, even the huge IBW, b) can't spend time in the air avoiding observation, c) doesn't have a primary habitat of uninviting swampland and, most importantly, as Dessie points out, d) has never been accepted by science in the first place.

All that said, however, read part of the account by one of the people involved in the search/rediscovery of the Ivory-bill:

Interestingly, in contrast to the noisy, fairly tame behavior Jim
Tanner recorded for the species in Louisiana in the 1930s, this bird
has proven incredibly shy and wary, always vanishing at the first
hint of a human. Many people -- and I include myself in this -- had
long assumed that if ivorybills survived in the U.S., someone would
have found and documented them decades ago. The fact that so many
people, backed up with technology like automated recording devices
and cameras, had such a hard time getting documentation in the Big
Woods, suggests we've been underestimating the difficulty of finding
this species. The "intensive" Pearl River search, for example,
involved six people for 30 days; most times that a sighting has been
followed up, it's been someone in a canoe poking around for a day or
two at most.
One lesson from the Big Woods is that we cannot easily
dismiss any of the reports elsewhere in the species' historic range,
especially those in South Carolina and Florida which have been
persistent for many years. I know scientists are following up on some
of those reports even as the news is trumpeted from Arkansas. Let's
all keep our fingers crossed.

http://www.birdforum.net/showpost.php?p ... stcount=51

What did the recent IBW search involve? 60 very knowlegable people in the field for 15 months over what is honestly a fairly tight geographic area. What is the evidence produced by all this time/effort/money? One sighting a month, about half of which were deemed conclusive enough to include in the Science article, some maybe/maybe not audiotape and four seconds (!!!) of videotape which if one is not an IBW expert looks like a blurry bird. This is what has garnered headlines, press reports and this (very rightly so) excitement.

So one could take the opposite position (in regards to the IBW being a recognized species and sasquatch not), that until there's someone with both the deep pockets and general resources of the Audobon Society, Nature Consrvancy, Cornell University, et al looking for Bigfoot, it's entirely reasonable that "proof" has not been forthcoming yet.

Another paralell is the absolute dismissal with which the vast majority of experts (y'know, "realists") treated the possible continued existence of the bird, even after word was spreading through the internet about the announcement from the Interior Dept! Not "I don't think it's likely" or "I doubt it, but you never know", but startng from a position of "no" and that anyone who claimed otherwise was romantic, mistaken or a hoaxer.

So, yeah, if I was a bigfoot hunter, or even being the armchair follower that I am, I take enormous inspiration from this discovery. (I mean, I do anyway, but specifically with regards to Sasquatch.) [/u]


Yes indeed.

One thing of note is that the biggest naysayers usually live in urban areas whose notion of wild areas is contrived from visions of the local city park.

I don't have a clue about Bigfoot whether or not the creature exists. I like to think he does....I live among the endless sea of timber in the Paciffic Northwest and the possibility of Bigfoot only adds a touch of magic.

Like...what is Loch ness without a monster?????...just a hole in the grounfd filled with water.


I was only making the point that there were just as many with reasoned,considered, opinions making adamant pronouncements that the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker was extinct and gone from the scene forever...despite all the sightings over the years.

It is at least as satisfying to see them with egg on the face as it was to learn that this great inhabitant of the natural world is still around for us to enjoy.
 

soaringspirit

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This is exciting news. The ivory-billed woodpecker is kind of the holy grail of extinct birds ( at least in N. America), and I was shocked to discover they may have found one (or more). If true this is a bigtime find....almost on the level of finding a live thylacine. Cryptozoolologists must be thrilled. If this large unique bird could slip under the radar for 60 years, what else could be hiding out there?
 

Seminole10

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If there is one then there is certainly more than one. In fact enough to maintain a breeding population.

What else could be out there??? I hope the Carolina Paroquet might still be around as it inhabited similar range as the Ivory Billed Woodpecker.
 
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Human_84

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Can't you guys see? It was just a man in a bird suit!!!

:p

Not my words, its from another forum.
 

Seminole10

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I got to se the first videos yesterday of the IVP since it's rediscovery.

Cearly it is an IVP. 10 milions dollars U.S. has been set aside for a recovery plan.

Considering the huge success of other species..Bald Eagle..Wild Turkey...Canadian Geese thre future looks bright. I can't wait for a full program on the Discovery Channel spotlighting the efforts.
 
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lopaka

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Well, the backlash has begun. I do have to say, as I kind-of was trying to get at on page one, it was interesting to see how the rediscovery of the IBW was universally and uncritically acclaimed/accepted, even though, to this untrained amatuer, the evidence presented wasn't all that different from what one gets from bigfoot hunters: some tape-recordings of interesting noises, visual observations/eyewitness accounts, and four freaking seconds of blurry videotape. Now again, I understand there's a significant difference between a theorhetical/hypothetical creature and one that there's absolutely no doubt once existed in the near-past. Nevertheless, it did seem like, on the basis of the evidence, to be a pretty slender limb on which the scientists were hanging their hat. (Need to say, I'm not neccesarily with the naysayers either, but the paralells are, to my mind, quite interesting and instructive.)

Professor disputes woodpecker sighting

Researcher says team’s video is likely of more common, not ‘extinct,’ bird

By Terry Rombeck

Friday, July 22, 2005

Mark Robbins would love to be wrong about this, but he really thinks that big woodpecker that got everyone so excited in April was pileated, not ivory-billed.

If he’s right, the most exciting news in years for birdwatchers would turn out to be merely ho-hum.

“They’re both big woodpeckers,” the biologist and manager of the Kansas University Natural History Museum said Thursday. “They’re both black and white. And you have to look at that distribution of that white and black. ... That’s what this is all about — the devil is in the details.”

It was national news, playing big in the New York Times, Washington Post and elsewhere, when bird experts said they had spotted an ivory-billed woodpecker alive and well in Arkansas and had video to prove it. Most had thought the bird was extinct since the 1940s.

But Robbins and three colleagues are challenging that assertion. He’s co-author of a study that has been provisionally accepted for publication in the Public Library of Science, pending final revisions. A rebuttal defense of the original sighting, printed in Science, also will be published.
Mark Robbins, collection manager at KU’s Natural History Museum, questions the evidence of a sighting of the ivory-billed woodpecker by a team of bird experts in Arkansas. Robbins is holding an ivory-billed woodpecker, left, and the more common pileated woodpecker, which Robbins suggests may have been what was found by the team.

Mark Robbins, collection manager at KU’s Natural History Museum, questions the evidence of a sighting of the ivory-billed woodpecker by a team of bird experts in Arkansas. Robbins is holding an ivory-billed woodpecker, left, and the more common pileated woodpecker, which Robbins suggests may have been what was found by the team.

The initial sighting, led by ornithologists at Cornell University, was based heavily on several seconds of video taken in southeastern Arkansas. If it is confirmed, it would be the first sighting since 1944, when the ivory-billed woodpecker was believed extinct because of deforestation.

Robbins declined to give details of his team’s argument before the paper is published. However, he said the group looked at video and specimens in KU’s bird collection. The university has one ivory-billed woodpecker collected in Florida.

The ivory-billed woodpecker has a black band crossing the white on the underside of its wings. The pileated woodpecker does not.

Other differences between the two birds include the color of beak and color of eyes.

“The (video) evidence they presented is very, very blurry,” he said. “This is not a straightforward thing, or it wouldn’t be controversial. If they had really dynamite video, we wouldn’t be having this discussion.”

But the original research team still claims it saw an ivory-billed woodpecker. Van Remsen, a Louisiana State University researcher, told The New York Times his colleagues would provide answers to concerns raised by Robbins and his fellow critics.

“We can counter everything,” Remsen said. “We stick to our guns.”

Leonard Krishtalka, director of the KU Natural History Museum, agreed with Robbins’ assessment. But he said he’d love to see evidence the bird was still alive.

“I think every ornithologist in the world would love to have this bird still alive,” he said.

Contents of this site are © Copyright 2005 The Lawrence Journal-World. All

SOURCE
 

hedgewizard1

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Well, that makes three now. In addition it KU, there's a fellow from Florida Gulf Coast University and a guy from Yale casting similar aspersions.

Granted, the video is fuzzy, but there's an awfully extensive amount of white on the wings. It appears that the trailing edge of the wing IS white, which would indicate an Ivory-Billed and not a Pileated.

Considering too that Cornell is the ornithology school, I tend to believe them.

I wonder how much is professional jealousy, and how much Clarke's First Law applies.

Clarke's First Law:

"When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong."
 

Kondoru

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It was Woody, wasnt it?

How are our Cuban friends doing with their Ivory Bills, BTW??

(Note that the Cuban ones are in an area of old pine forest, regarded as a more suitable enviroment than swamp woods.)
 

hedgewizard1

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Homo Aves said:
(Note that the Cuban ones are in an area of old pine forest, regarded as a more suitable enviroment than swamp woods.)

Bad new, friend. Those old pine forests are gone and so is Campephilus principalis bairdii. There have been sightings reported as recently as 1999, but these seem to be as murky as the Florida Skunk Ape sightings. In other words, lotsa talk, but no way to follow up.
 

Kondoru

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I thought the place where they saw the bird in the 40s was preserved?
 

Seminole10

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but no way to follow up.


Oh...I rather think not.

New Haven, Conn -- After reviewing new sound recordings from the White River of Arkansas, an independent team of ornithologists has confirmed the existence of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker


From August 2, 2005..Yale University et al;

(I-Newswire) - Working from previously unpublished data provided to them in the last few days by John Fitzpatrick and colleagues at Cornell University, ornithologists at Yale, the University of Kansas, and Florida Gulf Coast University have concluded that the bird has been indeed been detected for the first time in decades.

Yale ornithologist Richard Prum states, "We were very skeptical of the first published reports, and thought that the previous data were not sufficient to support this startling conclusion. But the thrilling new sound recordings provide clear and convincing evidence that the Ivory-billed Woodpecker is not extinct."

The unpublished recordings include a series of distinctive "kent" call notes and an exchange of the diagnostic "double raps" between two individuals. According to Mark Robbins of the University of Kansas, "The recordings of the double raps sound very natural, and are totally consistent with the behavior or the Central and South American relatives of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker."

These recordings provide the first evidence of the existence of more than one individual Ivory-bill. Cornell researchers plan to release the recordings at a meeting of the American Ornithologists' Union in Santa Barbara, California at the end of the month.


http://i-newswire.com/pr39789.html
 

Kondoru

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You mean its not yours?

Its a fine bird; you should be proud of it
 

Mighty_Emperor

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Kondoru said:
You mean its not yours?

Its a fine bird; you should be proud of it

Well at 22 inches long I suppose I am proud of the size of it.
 

Kondoru

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Its the worlds largest woodpecker...bigger than Woody whom everone is raving about.

I could quote my book on Extinct Birds if that would make you feel more egoistical
 

Mighty_Emperor

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Kondoru said:
Its the worlds largest woodpecker...bigger than Woody whom everone is raving about.

I could quote my book on Extinct Birds if that would make you feel more egoistical

Go for it.
 

Kondoru

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<ferrets franticaly though archives.>

Page 274 of Errol Fullers `Extinct Birds`

IMPERIAL WOODPECKER
Campephilus imperialis

There can be argument over whether the Ivory bill is the second largest of all woodpeckers; about the same size as the Great slaty woodpecker of SE asia. There is no doubt as to which spicies is the largest. Its the Imperial woodpecker, a close cousin of the ivory bill. Found thoughout the Sierra Madre Occidental of Mexico and not at all uncommon, last reliable record came from the state of Durango, though there are later and less substanciated claims, the latest from 1993. Dependent on the open pine forests now almost totaly destroyed.
Lived by scaling bark from dead pines, ate lavae. Favoured open forest of pinus montezumae which they nested in, drilling out holes at an elevation of about 20 metres (62 ft) bred between februray and june, usualy laid two eggs.
Also declined due to over hunting. Local indians regarded young as a delicacy, thought nothing of felling a large pine to get at them.
The only hope for this species (and it is not an entirely unrealistic one) is that a remote unsettled are exists unvisited by ornithologists.
 

TheQuixote

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Doubts over 'extinct' woodpecker

Scientists in the US are arguing over the identity of a bird filmed in 2004 which was heralded as the long-extinct ivory-billed woodpecker.
Researchers in Massachusetts said the interpretation of several of the bird's features was "mistaken".

However, experts at Cornell University, who identified the bird two years ago, have dismissed the new claims.

The discovery in Arkansas' Big Woods stunned ornithologists worldwide, with some comparing it to finding the dodo.

The find also ignited hope that other "extinct" birds may be clinging on to survival in isolated places [...]

from the BBC
 

PeniG

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I've read those doubts. They're crap. One "doubt" is the contention that there's "too much white" on the wings to be an ivory-bill and it must be a pileated. This is an odd criticism, as pileateds have less white on their wings than an ivory-bill and the crucial field mark is the location of the white on the wing - trailing edge on ivory-bill, leading edge on pileated.

After reading The Grail Bird, which went to press before Cornell went public, I was impressed by just how solid the evidence is. If the bird they were looking for hadn't been considered extinct, no one would have doubted any of their sightings. The tin horn hoots, the bark scaling, and multiple good sightings by people who are familiar with campephilis woodpeckers, including one who had worked with the Imperial woodpecker in the field - this is excellent stuff.

I recommend The Grail Bird to Forteans, not only for its intrinsic merits, but for many incidences of photographic and eyewitness evidence not being properly evaluated, which will sound familiar to every cryptozoology fan. Also, comparing the searches to searches for animals not definitely known ever to exist may be instructive.
 

Jerry_B

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I passed through Arkansas last month - they seem to be playing up this story, judging by the billboards that display it as you cross the state line.
 
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