Museum to display ivory-billed woodpeckers beginning Thursday
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The Florida Museum of Natural History will display two ivory-billed woodpecker specimens in its Central Gallery, starting Thursday and continuing through Jan. 14, 2007.
Believed to have been extinct for more than 50 years, the debate over the bird’s existence was renewed after the online scientific journal Avian Conservation and Ecology reported Sept. 26 that a team of researchers found evidence of the species in May 2005 along the Choctawhatchee River in the Florida Panhandle.
No sightings of the presumably extinct bird had been made since the 1940s or 1950s until a 2004 report that an ivory-billed woodpecker had been seen in Arkansas. Despite the recent reports, many ornithologists remain skeptical of the ivory-bill’s existence because of the lack of photographs to support the sighting.
Florida Museum Ornithology Curator David Steadman will lecture on some of the realities and myths about our ever-changing bird populations, including the ivory-bill, when he presents “Common, Rare, Endangered and Extinct Birds I Have Known and Loved” from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 22. The lecture is part of the Florida Museum’s Science Sunday series.
The series continues from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. Nov. 12 as award-winning nature photographer Bobby Harrison presents “Obsessed with the Ivory-billed Woodpecker.” Learn about the story of the ivory-bill’s near demise, miraculous resurrection and his first-hand account of the rediscovery of the Holy Grail bird. A book signing of Harrison’s “To Find an Ivory-billed Woodpecker” will follow. Harrison has been involved with the ivory-bill research project in eastern Arkansas since he and Tim Gallagher, editor of Living Bird magazine, reported their sighting Feb. 27, 2004.