Louisiana Bird Last Seen in 1944 Has Been Declared Extinct
In all likelihood, you have never seen an Ivory Billed Woodpecker. In fact, you probably don't even know anyone who has ever seen one of the birds that once flourished in southern swamps from Louisiana to Florida.
In 1967, the Fish and Wildlife Service listed the bird as endangered, but that status changed last week, when, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service announced the Ivory Billed Woodpecker will join 22 other plant and animal species as officially extinct.
Once known as "The Lord God Bird", as that was the typical reaction most would utter at just seeing the rather large tree dweller.
Ivory-billed woodpeckers once inhabited forests from Florida to North Carolina and southern Illinois, with a subspecies in the mountains of Cuba. But after the Civil War, the booming lumber industry chewed away at the southeast's woodlands and carved a once-sprawling habitat into disconnected tracts.
In an article from nola.com, we learn that the last official sighting of this beautiful creature was in 1944, nearly eighty years ago. That sighting took place right here in Louisiana; in the Northeast corner of the state in Madison Parish on a tract of land which was owned by the Singer Sewing Machine Company.
Texas Parks and Wildlife did a documentary on the bird a couple of years ago called "Chasing A Ghost" that contains the only known footage of the Ivory Billed Woodpecker.
There are some who believe last week's announcement might be a little premature. KPAX.com writes,
A leading figure in the hunt for the ivory-billed woodpecker said it was premature to call off the effort, after millions of dollars spent on searches and habitat preservation efforts.
Some scientists agree that it's entirely possible that the woodpecker or any of the other 22 species deemed extinct, could reappear.
Of course, one must consider the obvious in the case of the Ivory Billed Woodpecker. If this thing has eluded experts for nearly 80 years, and yet really exists, that gives credence to the possibility there really is a Bigfoot out there.