The search for the Grail Bird, the Ivory-billed Woodpecker, in Louisiana, Arkansas, Florida, and Cuba, as reported in BirdWatching (formerly Birder's World) magazine.
Published: April 17, 2012
In chronological order below are all the stories we've published, on paper and online, about recent searches for the Ivory-billed Woodpecker. The titles link to pages on this site, to postings on our popular forum, and to reports on our blog Field of View.|
|The truth is out there|
Jerome A. Jackson, Birder's World, June 2002, p. 40
Jackson, woodpecker expert and author of the book In Search of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker, describes his own encounters with the woodpecker, assesses David Kulivan's report of the birds in Louisiana's Pearl River swamp, and recounts the intensive search of the area in early 2002.
BirdersWorld.com, April 28, 2005
Published the day the first Arkansas reports were hurriedly published in the journal Science: reaction from ornithologists, a map of the Cache River refuge, and links.
|Old friend found|
Chris Niskanen, Birder's World, August 2005, p. 20
Arkansas eyewitnesses Gene Sparling, Tim Gallagher, Bobby Harrison, and Mindy LaBranche describe the birds they saw in the Big Woods from February to April 2004.
George H. Fenwick, Birder's World, August 2005, p. 24
Fenwick, president of the American Bird Conservancy, cautions that even if one Ivory-bill persists in Arkansas, the bird is still on the brink of extinction, and he pleas for the conservation of it and the world's other declining species.
Elliott Swarthout and Rob Rohrbaugh, Birder's World, August 2005, p. 26
Swarthout, supervisor of the Cache River search team, and Rohrbaugh, leader of Cornell's Ivory-bill recovery project, outline key questions that remain to be answered about the woodpecker.
|Reported Ivory-bill sightings since 1944|
BirdersWorld.com, August 2005
Color map of Cuba and the southeastern United States, showing the Ivory-bill's presumed original range, its range in 1885 and 1900, and the locations of 21 sightings reported between 1950 and 2004, along with a list of who the observers were and what they saw.
Sound recordings convince Ivory-bill skeptics
BirdersWorld.com Forum, posted August 2, 2005
Ornithologist Richard Prum and Mark Robbins, two of three authors of a paper contesting the identification of the woodpecker videotaped in Arkansas by David Luneau, withdraw the paper after hearing "thrilling new sound recordings."
AOU NEWS: "Kent" calls not conclusive
BirdersWorld.com Forum, posted August 24, 2005
Russ Charif, coordinator of the Ivory-bill search team's acoustic effort, reports at the American Ornithologists' Union meeting in Santa Barbara that recordings made in Arkansas were "tantalizing" but not proof of the woodpecker's presence in the Big Woods.
AOU NEWS: Six thin lines of evidence in ornithological Zapruder film
BirdersWorld.com Forum, posted August 24, 2005
Ken Rosenberg, Cornell's director of conservation science, describes six lines of evidence that suggest the bird visible in the video shot by David Luneau is an Ivory-billed Woodpecker.
AOU NEWS: Abstracts of papers pertaining to Ivory-bill
BirdersWorld.com Forum, posted August 26, 2005
Abstracts of presentations made at the 2005 AOU meeting by John Fitzpatrick, Ken Rosenberg, Russ Chariff, and Robert Cooper.
AOU NEWS: New Ivory-bill film shown
BirdersWorld.com Forum, posted August 26, 2005
In a plenary address at the AOU meeting, John Fitzpatrick, director of the Cornell Lab, plays a never-seen-before film of Ivory-bills and never-heard-before audio in which he says the wings of a woodpecker can be heard beating. Both were recorded in the Singer Tract of Louisiana in 1935.
AOU NEWS: Why we don't have hard proof
BirdersWorld.com Forum, posted August 29, 2005
Six reasons why after 14 months of searching we have no better evidence for the existence of the Ivory-bill than a bunch of sight records, four seconds of fuzzy video, kent calls that may have come from Blue Jays, and recordings of 54 "Campephilus-like" knocking sounds, according to Ron Rohrbaugh, a leader of the search team.
NY Times: Ivory-bill or Kirtland's: you choose
BirdersWorld.com Forum, posted August 30, 2005
A report in the New York Times suggests that $10 million of federal money promised for the Ivory-bill would be redirected from other endangered species.
Birders Return to Cache River NWR Hot Spot
BirdersWorld.com Forum, posted October 6, 2005
Birders are allowed back in the 4,800-acre managed access zone of the Cache River National Wildlife Refuge, six months after it was closed.
Ivory-bill takes perch on money tree
Birder's World, December 2005, p. 18
The $10 million in promised federal funding for the Ivory-bill would rank the species fourth in government bird spending, behind the Bald Eagle, Red-cockaded Woodpecker, and Spotted Owl.
|Old friend missing|
Matt Mendenhall, Birder's World, December 2005, p. 35
Mendenhall, associate editor of Birder's World magazine, considers whether the Ivory-bill's larger, grander cousin - the Imperial Woodpecker - still flies in western Mexico.
Chuck Hagner, Birder's World, February 2006, p. 6
Hagner compares the overheated Ivory-bill debate to mounting anxiety about avian influenza and wonders how things might have been different had more scientists and birders been brave enough to say, "I don't know."
An Ivory-bill skeptic speaks out
Birder's World, April 2006, p. 13
Ivory-bill expert Jerry Jackson takes issue with the secrecy surrounding the Arkansas search and alleges that mistakes made by the Big Woods Conservation Partnership produced "faith-based ornithology," not true science. He suggests that the result could be the erosion of public support for conservation efforts.
Reaction to Jackson's charges
BirdersWorld.com, February 6, 2006
Ornithologists John Kricher, John Rotenberry, William Moore, Hans Winkler, and Noel Snyder offer their perspectives of Jackson's critique of the Ivory-bill search.
White Pileated Woodpecker found in Big Woods
BirdersWorld.com Forum, posted February 23, 2006
The Cornell Lab announces that a mostly white Pileated Woodpecker has been discovered in the White River NWR.
Sibley questions Ivory-bill ID
BirdersWorld.com Forum, posted March 16, 2006
Field-guide author David Sibley and three co-authors write in the journal Science that the bird visible in the Luneau video may be a common Pileated Woodpecker, not an Ivory-bill. Cornell scientists dispute Sibley's conclusion.
Search for Ivory-bill underway in Cuba
BirdersWorld.com Forum, posted April 29, 2006
Cuban ornithologists announce that they have begun searching for the Ivory-billed Woodpecker in pine forests at the far eastern tip of Cuba. The area, the Sierra Maestra, has been off-limits to scientists for almost half a century.
No new evidence found in Arkansas
BirdersWorld.com Forum, posted May 18, 2006
At the conclusion of a second season of organized searches in Arkansas, involving more than 100 volunteers and full-time researchers, the recovery team announces that it has failed to document the Ivory-bill.
Chuck Hagner, Birder's World, August 2006, p. 8
Hagner asks whether arguments about the Ivory-bill provoke emotion because they strike at the heart of what it means to be a birdwatcher.
|The Ivory Standard|
Pete Dunne, Birder's World, August 2006, p. 16
Contributing Editor Dunne writes that he believes Bobby Harrison and Tim Gallagher saw an Ivory-bill because birding "is predicated upon an article of faith: that birds are identifiable in the field. Skilled birders, applying those skills, can correctly deduce a bird's identity."
New claim for evidence of Ivory-bills in Florida
BirdersWorld.com Forum, posted September 25, 2006
Ornithologists Geoffrey Hill of Auburn University and Daniel Mennill of the University of Windsor publish an online paper containing evidence of Ivory-billed Woodpeckers along the Choctawhatchee River in Florida, including 14 sightings, multiple sound recordings, feeding sign, and tree cavities.
Florida Ivory-bill recordings played
BirdersWorld.com Forum, posted October 4, 2006
At the North American Ornithological Conference in Veracruz, Mexico, Hill and Mennill describe sightings and sound detections of Ivory-bills along the Choctawhatchee River in Florida.
Ivory-bill may be two distinct species
Birder's World, December 2006, p. 14
Smithsonian geneticists report that the North American and Cuban subspecies of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker may be separate species.
|The other guys|
Geoffrey E. Hill, Birder's World, February 2007, p. 22
Auburn ornithologist Hill tells how he discovered Ivory-bills along the Choctawhatchee in the spring of 2005 and describes his small-scale search for the bird in the winter of 2005-06. Includes a color map of the southeastern United States plotting the locations of 21 searches scheduled for the winter of 2006-07.
|A new challenge to the Luneau video|
Birder's World Field of View, March 14, 2007
J. Martin Collinson, a member of the Records Committee and Taxonomic Sub-Committee of the British Ornithologists' Union, argues in an online paper that the images of the woodpecker in the Luneau video "are not good enough" to identify the bird. Cornell's John Fitzpatrick tells us why he sees things differently.
|Florida airport project can proceed|
Birder's World Field of View, May 28, 2007
A $330 million airport slated for construction in Florida not far from where the Hill team is searching for Ivory-billed Woodpeckers won't affect the bird, officials from the FAA, Fish and Wildlife Service, and other agencies say.
Ivory-bills in Florida? Still looking for a clear yes
Birder's World Field of View, August 11, 2007
During a presentation at the AOU meeting in Laramie, Wyoming, Hill and fellow Florida searcher Brian Rolek describe the results of the 2006-07 season and show a brief video, captured by a camera mounted on Hill's kayak, of a flying bird said to be an Ivory-bill.
Science, the Ivory-bill, and the vortex of extinction
Birder's World Field of View, August 17, 2007
An article in Science, the scientific journal that in April 2005 broke the news of the Ivory-bill's apparent rediscovery, defends the journal's decision to hurry the Cornell paper into publication, reveals the extraordinary steps taken by the search team to silence their critics, and paints a bleak picture of the woodpecker's chances for survival.
Cost for Ivory-bill recovery exceeds $27 million
Birder's World Field of View, August 23, 2007
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's new draft recovery plan says Ivory-bill efforts through 2010 may cost more than $27 million.
The search must go on
Geoffrey E. Hill, BirdersWorld.com, October 26, 2007
Hill writes that heavy-handed, straight-at-the-birds searches in Florida and Arkansas failed to gather definitive evidence of the Ivory-bill's existence, but multiple, simultaneous sight records and sound detections are impossible to dismiss.
Ideal remote camera is just an idea
Matt Mendenhall, BirdersWorld.com, October 26, 2007
Hill would like a better camera trap to be developed, but this year, most searches will rely on expert birders and helicopters.