Oh, what a pleasure it was back in the Oughts when the people of Arkansas still had hopes of finding / seeing / recording the Lord God Bird. It is another name for the American ivory-billed woodpecker. Which is another name for Campephilus principalis.
Someone thought they saw one in 2004 near the Cache River outside of Brinkley, Ark., And people flocked into the woods with their camcorders. Coffee mugs, T-shirts and editorials featured the bird. Even though the real thing has turned out to be elusive.
Now, Reuters reports that the United States government has concluded that the ivory-billed woodpecker is extinct. The US Fish and Wildlife Service has said the bird – and 22 other birds, fish and other species – gone forever.
Which means that volunteers, academics, and researchers also haven’t found the Lord God Bird in Florida. After the sighting here, someone in the enclave thought they had caught a glimpse as well, and the search continued in the swamps. This research did not yield anything solid.
It is a loss for our planet. Because any bird that would get a nickname after someone saw it and exclaimed, “Lord God!” must have been a beautiful sight to see. Now that the government has made its statement, an even more official source has confirmed it. On Wednesday morning, Wikipedia said the ivory-billed woodpecker “is” a bird native to the deciduous forests of the southern lowlands. Pass.
The last confirmed sighting of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker – not to be confused with its smaller cousin, which is numerous enough that one is probably in front of your window now – was in 1944. The sighting in 2004 was not been confirmed. Although hope began to rise at the time. Now, not so much. We may have better luck finding the Rock.
From the AP: “It’s a rare decision for wildlife officials to give up hope on a plant or animal, but government scientists say they’ve exhausted [efforts] to find these 23. And they warn that climate change, in addition to other pressures, could make such disappearances more frequent, as global warming adds to the dangers facing endangered plants and wildlife. “
Yes, but climate change has not wiped out the ivory-billed woodpecker. Journaling did it. And humanity pushes the wilderness out of its way. Rumor has it that in the 1920s, when the bird was already about to come out, someone found a breeding pair in Florida, so local taxidermists shot them “for specimens.”
Other species were declared extinct this week. Including something called the pigtoe flat freshwater mussel. But none of the others surprised viewers with their appearance so much that humans appealed to their Creator.
(Notably, the state of Hawaii has the most species on the extinction list, according to the article. Eight birds and one island plant were listed this week. Apparently, this is because the flora and Hawaii’s wildlife have ranges so small that they can “blink fast.”)
Mankind, for all its faults, has done a good job with certain species, including the bald eagle, brown pelican, and humpback whale. These races have been brought back from the brink. But many others are devastated.
The word around the campfire is that conservationists have gone from trying to save individual species to saving those habitats instead. This not only allows endangered animals and plants to thrive, but also those creatures that we don’t (yet) know about that can eat, mate, and breed in weeds. Maybe Homo sapiens is really a demanding man. Or becomes it.
Is all hope gone? Maybe only 99.99 percent of it. The US Fish and Wildlife Service’s announcement kicks off a three-month comment period before the official, official, and official statement can be made. For the ivory-billed woodpecker. . . so you say there is a chance?
Maybe, maybe, the hope lives on, and there is always the possibility that a body will appear in the next few months with a recording or photo or video of the Lord God Bird. After all, scientists are telling newspapers that it is possible that one of these 23 species will reappear from their hiding place. One day.
Let’s touch wood.