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Finding 'Nature's Holy Grail'
Nature gives very few second chances, but this may be one of them
Author: Alaskalink.US., editor Al.... by WWF
     Reports from The Nature Conservancy and the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology that the magnificent ivory-billed woodpecker, long believed to be extinct, has been rediscovered in the Big Woods of eastern Arkansas more than 60 years after the last confirmed sighting of the species in the United States has produced waves of excitement in the world of conservation and beyond.
The discovery has been hailed by ornithologists, birders, conservation organizations and the media as a victory for nature, and it highlights the need to preserve intact the world's critical landscapes.
"Nature gives very few second chances, but this may be one of them," said Carter Roberts, president and CEO-elect of World Wildlife Fund. "I applaud the extraordinary efforts by The Nature Conservancy and their partners to conserve this great ecosystem , without which we would never been witnessing this rediscovery." (Visit for more information on the discovery.)
Have You Seen an Ivory-Billed Woodpecker?
The rediscovery of the ivory-billed woodpecker will likely drive ornithologists and amateur birders into the forest in search of the elusive bird, formerly thought extinct.
It may also cause a run on false identifications. Although you think you saw an ivory-billed woodpecker, what you might have seen a pileated woodpecker, a secretive species that is making a comeback across the eastern half of the U.S. Although smaller than the ivory-billed, the pileated is still an impressive bird with a large, flaming crest atop its head.
Ornithologists distinguish the two by the location of the white wing feathers. The full-width white patch in the ivory-bill's trailing wing feathers (when seen from above) folds to form a white "saddle" on its back when the bird is perched. Males have a prominent scarlet crest; the female's crest is black. (Both male and female pileated woodpeckers have a scarlet crest.)
Like a lot of birds, pileated woodpeckers are often heard before they are seen. They pound loudly on trees, boring deep into rotting wood searching for the nests of carpenter ants, their favorite food. Unlike smaller woodpeckers that peck in a rapid-fire fashion, pileated woodpeckers whack trees much more slowly, often sounding like irregular thumping. The birds are so large and powerful that they send bark flying when they peck at trees.
The most obvious difference between the two birds is the white beak of the ivory-billed. The ivory-billed is larger than a pileated but not by much, with a wingspan about a half foot or so longer than a pileated which can have a wingspan of about 2 1/2 feet.
If you think you've seen an ivory-billed contact your state wildlife agency.
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