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July 2009
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Ivory-billed Woodpecker Film Opens

It’s been more than four years since I left Arkansas, Ivory-billed Woodpecker T-shirt in hand, just days after the news of the rediscovery of the species broke in the national media.  During five months in the swamps over the winter and spring of 2004-2005, I had really gotten to know the Big Woods.  Lately I’ve been longing to get back to the bayous of the Natural State and enjoy a peaceful paddle through the cypresses.

Members of the search team paddle Bayou DeView in winter of 2004.  [Photo by Lauren Morgens.]

Members of the search team paddle Bayou DeView in winter of 2004. (Photo L Morgens)

Even though the controversy over the existence of the Ivory-bill has quieted down a bit by now, I still get questions about the project all the time.  People want to know if the bird was really there!  What began as a fascinating biological adventure has turned into an extended window into the nature of hope, cynicism, and public opinion of science.

A new documentary film on the Ivory-billed Woodpecker search and controversy, Ghost Bird, recently had its US premiere at the Maine International Film Festival.  Jeff Wells posted the trailer on his Boreal Bird Blog, and I thought I’d share it here for your enjoyment.

This past season’s systematic search activity by Cornell’s mobile search team was the final effort after five years of field work, according to a recent article in the Cornell Chronicle.  The recent search yielded no Ivory-bills, but lots of ecological data on difficult-to-access natural communities in south Florida.


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