This is the famous painting of 1 male and 2 female Ivory-billed Woodpeckers from John James Audubon's Birds of America.
Friday, February 5, 2010
This is the famous painting of 1 male and 2 female Ivory-billed Woodpeckers from John James Audubon's Birds of America.
This impressive looking, male Ivory-billed Woodpecker specimen is on display at the Harvard Museum of Natural History in Cambridge, Massachusetts. According to the Onithology Information System (ORNIS) database, a total of 260 North American and 9 Cuban ivorybill specimens collected from March 7, 1844 to December 6, 1935 are housed in North American collections (not including any specimens that are housed in museums in Cuba). Most specimens were collected in Florida in the late 1800s to early 1900s.
The Top 5 holders of ivorybill specimens, according to ORNIS are:
The Field Museum, IL - 38
The Smithsonian, DC - 35
American Museum of Natural History, NY - 27
The Academy of Natural Sciences, PA - 20
With regard to collecting any animal that has become endangered or worse, we'll probably never know how many were enough to collect, and how many were excessive.
From the ORNIS site:
Photo by hyperion327, posted here under Creative Commons License.
Tim Gallagher, ornithologist and author of The Grail Bird, relates his famed sighting of an Ivory-billed Woodpecker in the Big Woods of Arkansas, seven years ago, in a brief portion of this recent podcast by CBC Radio. The interview begins about 6 mins into the podcast.
In February, I spent just over a week in east-central Louisiana with a couple of good friends in our ongoing search effort (dubbed Project Coyote) for the Ivory-billed Woodpecker. Our trip report includes several images of trees of interest and habitat, and a sound file of two possible double knocks that I heard in the field, but which are rather soft in volume on the recording.
Post updated on 2/1/2011
Wikimedia Commons has posted this photo and a few others of Ivory-billed Woodpeckers at the Singer Tract in Louisiana that were taken by Arthur A. Allen of Cornell University. This photo is accompanied with the following information at Wikimedia:
...Female Ivory-Bill returning to nest. Photo taken in Singer Tract, Louisiana by Arthur A. Allen (April 1935). From Recent observations of the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker (Auk) Volume 54, Number 2, April, 1937. This work is in the public domain because it was published in the United States between 1923 and 1963 with a copyright notice, and its copyright was not renewed.
The full-text of the aforementioned article by Arthur A. Allen is easy to find (search using his name in the author field) at the Searchable Ornithological Research Archive (SORA). The image above and several other interesting images appear in the article. You can find it here:
Cornell offers more images of the Singer Tract in Louisiana and Ivory-billed Woodpeckers in its digital collections. Some are in color and the images are definitely worth a look. The entire collection of these images is not easy to retrieve with a single search, so try various keywords like ivorybill, woodpecker, and singer tract and a few searches if you want to find them.
...showing a male Cuban Ivory-Bill from a last remnant of Ivory-Billed Woodpeckers in Cuba (Auk) Volume 65, Number 4, October, 1948. This work is in the public domain because it was published in the United States between 1923 and 1963 with a copyright notice, and its copyright was not renewed.
On a related note, a post entitled Valle de Vinales at another blog says that Dr. Giraldo Alayon is currently working on a book about the Cuban ivory-billed Woodpecker.
Ivory-billed Woodpeckers - A Podcast Interview with Ron Rohrbaugh from The Cornell Lab of Ornithology
The photo above by Arthur A. Allen is in the public domain according to Wikimedia Commons.
|Cassell's Book of Birds (1873)|
Mark Bonta of Delta State University in Cleveland, Mississippi delivers very interesting commentary on the continuing search for the Ivory-billed Woodpecker along with the Delta blues in a new podcast discussion. Ivorybill comments begin just after 14 minutes into this podcast:
The author has set up a site for the book here:
If you read this at a later date and do not link directly to the review, you can find it in the post dated November 14, 2010 at Ivory-bills Live.
Fairbanks Museum in St. Johnsbury, Vermont. I've been mentioning raised crests frequently, and so I felt intrigued to see the raised crest on the male bird at right in this photo. It's something that you almost never see in ivorybill photos or specimens. I wonder what taxidermy technique was involved in raising the crest.
Many thanks to slider5 for granting permission to post this photo here.
Even more intriguing is a new report from Arkansas of a sighting of a pair of Ivory-billed Woodpeckers by Jackson Roe and his dad reported on Jackson's blog! UPDATE: In a later post, Jackson Roe conveyed that the birds he and his dad saw were Red-headed Woodpeckers, not ivorybills. Both types of woodpeckers have white patches on their backs. Their search continues.
Let's all wish them the very best of luck in their future efforts to further document living ivorybills!
It was nice to find this photo of a Cuban Ivory-billed Woodpecker specimen recently on Flickr, which was taken and posted there by Jim Forrest. Jim wrote about this photo:
For 4 additional photos of this bird, see Tim Gallagher's article from 2007 here at Cornell''s site:
You can find an interesting and thorough discussion of the Recovery Plan over at Ivory-bills Live. Be sure to read the comments associated with the post at this link, entitled as follows (it's dated July 22, 2010, in case you need that info to find the post):
About the Illustration
Stephen Lyn Bales is the author of the upcoming book:
Woodpeckers of the World, a blog "focusing on the wrynecks, piculets, sapsuckers, flickers, flamebacks and woodpeckers (Picidae) of the world" that is already an attractive and remarkable resource. It aims to deliver photographs, sounds, habitats, data & discussion on the world's Picidae. Here's the link:
Here's a link to his blog:
Naturalis is the website of the National Museum of Natural History in the Netherlands. At Naturalis, you can find 3D images of specimens from the Zoological Museum of the University of Amsterdam including an Imperial Woodpecker, a Cuban Ivory-billed Woodpecker and a US Ivory-billed Woodpecker . See these birds, for example:
This post may be old news to some of you. But only recently, I was excited to discover an 1812 illustration of a male and female Ivory-billed Woodpecker by John James Audubon. The image you see below is one of 116 drawings that appear in Audubon: Early Drawings by Harvard University Press published in 2008. For more information about the book:
Also, check out a pleasing arrangement of several drawings from the book:
Incidentally, Wikipedia Commons has a large file version of Audubon's more renowned, later drawing of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker from Birds of America.
And in case you haven't heard yet...
On a related note, the Project Coyote site that details the ongoing search for the Ivory-billed Woodpecker in east central Louisiana was recently updated. It's a very interesting read. The update by Mark Michaels focuses on woodpecker anatomy and what it may imply in terms of foraging sign.
Why does it matter?
Distinguishing Ivory-billed Woodpecker foraging sign from that of other woodpeckers could go a long way toward locating extant populations of this elusive bird.
There are also several photos, including scaling on a live tree, from an earlier update at the Project Coyote site (it's on the same page as the latest update) where Mark M. writes:
And so the search for the Ivory-billed Woodpecker continues in Louisiana.
From present to past, you can hear two accounts of Ivory-billed Woodpecker sightings in this brief video. Gene Sparling is up first, describing his 2004 sighting while kayaking in the Cache River National Wildlife Refuge in Arkansas. Next, Fred Carney relates his 1938 sighting of three Ivory-billed Woodpeckers at the famed Singer Tract in Louisiana.
The video comes from a Memphis PBS station. Thanks to Cyberthrush over at
Ivory-bills Live, where I found it.
Two weeks ago, I posted news about Project Coyote, an ongoing Ivory-billed Woodpecker search effort in east central Louisiana. We've added an updates page to the Project Coyote website. This week's update focuses upon foraging sign, including several close-up photos in response to requests we've had for additional information. We will keep you posted as the search continues.
Here is an exciting update from author Stephen Lyn Bales about his upcoming book:
The book will detail the story of Dr. James T. Tanner, his study of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker and his extensive quest for the bird that involved a journey over eight southern US states. It's due out in early fall.
So what of the Ivory-bill? Some people, including yours truly, believe that the Ivory-billed Woodpecker has persisted into the 21st Century. Others disagree. This winter, I participated in my 6th and most eventful search for the Ivory-billed Woodpecker in the southeastern U.S. For details about what my team saw and heard in Louisiana in late January:
This public domain image of a pair of Ivory-billed Woodpeckers is from Letters from Alabama by Phillip Henry Gosse, published in 1859. I first came across this book through a post at the Ivory-bill Rsearcher's Forum. The author's account details the fact that he found cherries in the stomach contents of the birds. It's an interesting read.
In less than an hour I returned, and, on opening the door, he set up the same distressing shout, which now appeared to proceed from grief that he had been discovered in his attempts at escape. He had mounted along the side of the window, nearly as high as the ceiling, a little below which he had begun to break through. The bed was covered with large pieces of plaster; the lath was exposed for at least fifteen inches square, and a hole, large enough to admit the fist, opened to the weather-boards; so that, in less than another hour he would certainly have succeeded in making his way through.
If you know the story, then you'll recall the mahogany table that this unconquerable bird shattered to bits when Wilson left the room again! Ultimately, the story is heartbreaking, and especially so to Ivory-bill admirers. The bird died within just 3 days in captivity.
Read Reiko Goto’s‘re-imagination’ of Wilson’s tragic conclusion…
The artwork above is one part of an illustrated text by the artist Reiko Goto. The drawing is a reproduction of Wilson’s Ivory-billed Woodpecker from American Ornithology, volume 4 (1811). To read Reiko’s re-imagined story click here: http://reiko.collinsandgoto.com/narratives/index.html
Reiko Goto is an ecological artist living and working in Scotland. She is currently a PhD researcher at Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen. Previously she has been a research fellow at Carnegie Mellon University (1997-2005). Goto’s current research “Empathetic Relationship with Ecological Art” involves a sound-based experimental approach to human interaction and empathy with trees. The work is informed by readings such as ‘On the Problem of Empathy’ by Edith Stein (3rd Edition 1989). The text was originally published in German in 1917.
The Lord God Bird from $10productions on Vimeo.
Thought I'd post this curious video about the Ivory-billed Woodpecker It's accompanied by interesting visuals and described as follows on Vimeo.
sung by Sufjan Stevens
a story retold by tim and john
about a bird that decides to come back
even if only for a glimpse
There are either 11 or 12 Campephilus species depending on how the Ivory-billed Woodpecker is classified. Scientists who analyzed mitochondrial DNA of museum specimens reported in 2006 that their data suggested that the Cuban Ivory-billed Woodpecker and the US Ivory-billed Woodpecker should be considered as separate species in Mid-Pleistocene divergence of Cuban and North American ivory-billed woodpeckers by Robert C. Fleischer, et al., Biol Lett. 2006 September 22; 2(3): 466–469. Published online 2006 May 16. doi: 10.1098/rsbl.2006.0490.
Historically, they had been considered to be the same species.
The American Ornithologists' Union Committee on Classification and Nomenclature is the ultimate authority on the issue, according to the issue of BirdWatch at this link.
Ivory-billed Woodpecker paintings here!
To see more of the artist's work,
visit his blog, The Mincing Mockingbird.
“Believin’ ain’t hard when believin’s all ya’ got.” It's Jimmy's last day before going to war, he's addicted to glue, his mom is seeing visions in the sweet potato casserole, and his wheelchair-bound dad can kick his ass. Oppressed by his father’s abusive expectations, his mother’s delusional addiction, and the sweltering heat of the Arkansas summer, Jimmy turns to the only friend he has and pleads for help. God answers him with the rare and elusive Ivory-Billed Woodpecker. Lured by aspirations of heroism and his father’s insistence that he’s nothing more than a freak, Jimmy embarks beyond his family’s trailer park on an embattled exploration of faith and freedom. Trapped in a land where the line between right and wrong is easily blurred, Jimmy must decide for himself if he has what it takes to be a hero.
From Mark Yuhina, we have this splendid illustration of a male Ivory-billed Woodpecker, posted here with the artist's permission. Mark recently posted it on his blog where you can see more of his work. Here's the link:
Ghost Bird is a documentary film by Scott Crocker about the Ivory-billed Woodpecker search in Arkansas that began in 2004. The film makes its theatrical premiere in New York City, playing at 7:00 pm nightly from April 28 - May 4 at Anthology Film Archives as part of their For the Birds series of notable bird films. Producer/Director Scott Crocker will be present for the Friday and Saturday screenings in NYC.
By far, my favorite element of the film was the interview footage with Mrs. Nancy Tanner, the wife of renowned Ivory-billed Woodpecker researcher Jim Tanner. Mrs. Tanner comments on her experience observing Ivory-billed Woodpeckers in the Singer Track in Louisiana before that magnificent old growth forest got transformed into a soybean field. Her fascinating commentary is accompanied by old, black-and-white video footage of an Ivory-billed Woodpecker in slow motion and scenes of Mrs. Tanner flipping through large-sized prints of photographs that are now familiar to many from her husband's study on the bird. This part of the film best conveys the sheer sense of wonder in contemplating the largest woodpecker of the USA.
As the film progresses, the tension builds between believers of the bird's continued existence and the skeptics. And then Ghost Bird quickly comes across as unbalanced. To a degree uncertain, by sheer virtue of who did and who did not participate in the film, the skeptics have the stronger voice
I would have liked to hear a few convincing Ivory-billed Woodpecker sightings straight from the source. Earlier this week, the Ghost Bird site had two clips available that detail Ivory-billed Woodpecker sightings. The clips do not appear in the film, nor are they available at the site anymore. The first clip was an interview with Mary Scott timed at 6 mins 50 secs long. Mary Scott has a site called Birding America where she details the same 2003 Arkansas sighting that she described in the clip. David Sibley is quoted in this clip as saying that:
The other clip is shorter and shows Timothy R. Barksdale, cameraman for Cornell's search effort and research associate, conveying a convincing sounding story to schoolchildren of his sighting of an Ivory-billed Woodpecker flying down the main channel of the river that he was canoeing on before it veered off through the forest.
Two other films on the same topic are Woodpecker (to me like a mini-Ghost Bird with a fun comedic, fictional twist) and The Lord God Bird (that I have not seen yet, and including participation by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the Nature Conservancy).
There is a lot to enjoy in Ghost Bird. It's got a cool soundtrack too. If you've got the slightest interest in the Ivory-billed Woodpecker, go see it when you have the chance!