Extinct Species Series
Page 3 of 4

#3 “The Untouchables”
Ivory-billed Woodpeckers---extinct 1950’s
With Poisin Ivy
Private Collection

Click on image to enlarge

The Ivory-billed Woodpeckers were not a flocking bird like the Passenger Pigeons and the Carolina Parakeets. In fact for a pair to establish itself in an area and nest successfully it required separation from other Ivory-bills. It also required solitude and a large area in which to forage daily.

The diet of the Ivory Billed Woodpeckers consisted primarily of the wood-boring grubs and beetles. Being a large and powerful bird enabled it to reach places that other birds could not. This bird, though not in large numbers, was a benefit to the forests.

The range of this species was the southeastern region of the United States-from southern Indiana and Illinois, Missouri, Oklahoma, western Kentucky, Arkansas to eastern Texas, the Gulf Coast and into Florida to the Big Cypress district down to the Coloosahatchie River.

The last documented sightings were in the bayous of Louisiana. This was in the 1950’s. There have been no confirmed sightings since and the species is believed to be extinct.

There are no records of the hunting of the Ivory-billed Woodpeckers.

Loss of Habitat through human encroachment and the cutting of timber assisted in disrupting this species to the point of extinction.

In the last few years there has been a flurry of excitement over possible sightings and hearing the call as well. So far these have not been proven true or false.

If they are true we hope that it is kept quiet and not documented for the inundation of people who want to witness it for one reason or the other would surely prove fatal.

*There is a Cuban Ivory-billed Woodpecker, a resident of Cuba, which has been determined to be a separate species from the one in the United States.

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