- This Science paper will be freely available to the public on Thursday, April 28 at 11:30 a.m. ET at www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/1114103.
- A press release from AAAS is available here.
- A press release from Cornell University is available here.
- A video news release from Cornell University is available here.
Observers in eastern Arkansas
have reported at least eight independent sightings of a bird
that appears to be an ivory-billed woodpecker, a species widely
thought to be extinct. A video clip of one bird, though blurry,
shows key features, including the size and markings, indicating
that the bird is indeed an ivory-billed woodpecker, according
to John W. Fitzpatrick and coauthors. One of the world’s
largest woodpeckers, the ivory-billed woodpecker is one of
six North American bird species suspected or known to have
become extinct since 1880. The last conclusive sighting of
an ivory-billed woodpecker in continental North America occurred
in 1944, although anecdotal reports have continued to this
day. The sightings, each by a different person or team, occurred
during the last two years within three kilometers of one another
in the “Big Woods” region of Arkansas, which includes
swamps and bottomland hardwood forests. Despite extensive
search efforts, the authors were not able to determine how
many individual birds were actually encountered. By magnifying
and analyzing individual frames of the video clip, Fitzpatrick
and his colleagues identified the bird as an ivory-billed
woodpecker based on its size, specifically the distance from
wing to tail, and the black and white markings on its wings
Science is published by AAAS, the non-profit science
of John A. Ruthven