New possible sighting of Ivory-billed woodpecker raises hope, skepticism

Jeremy Hance
January 27, 2010

A press release came out recently that claimed a new sighting and photographs of the 'extinct' ivory-billed woodpecker. There hasn't been a confirmed sighting of the ivory-billed woodpecker since the 1940s when the last known population lost its habitat to clearcutting. However, the news release has brought excitement, hope, but mostly skepticism among birding blogs.

The press release states that Daniel Rainsong saw and photographed an ivory-billed woodpecker twice in late December on the Sabine River in Texas. Rainsong is currently holding off on releasing the photos according to the news release until the find be verified.

"The photographs proving this new find are being sequestered to protect Mr. Rainsong's right of claim in this discovery," reads the press release, probably referring to the 50,000 dollar reward offered by Cornell for evidence of the ivory-billed woodpeckers' existence.

However, doubts have rained on this new sighting: many believe it to be a hoax or simply another in a long list of sightings that will prove unverifiable.

The ivory-billed woodpecker generated big news when one was sighted in Arkansas in 2004, though there has been no verification of the sighting. In 2005 ornithologists say they sighted ivory-billed woodpeckers in Florida, but subsequent searches have found none.

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Ivory-billed Woodpecker sighting may be a mistake

(03/14/2007) A new study casts doubt on the apparent rediscovery of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker in Arkansas. J. Martin Collinson, a researcher at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, says that the sighting of the thought-to-be-extinct bird is a case of mistaken identity. Using video analysis, Collinson argues that ornithologists have confused the Ivory-billed Woodpecker (Campephilus principalis) with the similar Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus).

Robots aid in search for Ivory-billed woodpecker

(02/17/2007) Scientists have installed robotic cameras to help in the search of the world's most elusive bird, the Ivory-billed woodpecker.

Not extinct? Ivory-billed Woodpecker may live in Florida

(09/26/2006) Researchers found evidence of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker, a bird once believed to be extinct, in a remote river basin in the panhandle of Florida. The discovery, announced in Avian conservation and Ecology, was made in May 2005 by a research team led by Auburn University professor Geoff Hill. The bird was sighted on the Choctawhatchee River and though the team captured no photographs of the species.

Jeremy Hance
mongabay.com (January 27, 2010).

New possible sighting of Ivory-billed woodpecker raises hope, skepticism.