Wonder of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker

Posted in Wildlife A-Z | April 9, 2010

The ivory-billed woodpecker was considered till recently to be an extinct species. However, its obscurity vanished when ornithologists have reported its sighting. The ivory-billed woodpecker is the third largest woodpecker species in the world.

It was believed to be extinct some 50 years ago. However, in April 2005 a video featuring the birds surfaced from an Arkansas swamp forest. This video confirmed the existence of the bird. It captured the attention of the entire world. It was considered to be the equivalent of locating Elvis alive.

Some researchers backed the evidence for the ivory-billed woodpecker while other insisted that the video recording shows a smaller woodpecker, which is common throughout North America.

These woodpeckers make a characteristic double-knock noise while pecking at trees. This sound is the deciding factor when locating any surviving birds of this species. The video recording seems to have captured this distinct sound. However, it may reflect noises belonging to non-avian origin.

The ivory-billed woodpecker’s status remains unclear until more evidence surfaces from the Mississippi Delta’s inaccessible Big Woods region that stretches for 860 square miles.

The bird once captured the entire attention of America. It has become a tragic symbol of the extinct delta forests that once served as their primary habitat. These woodlands are present today in isolated patches.

Ivory-billed woodpeckers have a huge white bill. The bill is not really made from ivory. They use the bill to remove bark from dead trees. They also use the bill to capture beetle larvae, which is the primary food of the woodpeckers. The bills of the woodpeckers were once regarded has high-value objects by the Native Americans. Several archaeological digs have revealed vast amounts of these bills far from the range of the woodpecker’s habitat. This shows they had high value as trade items.

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