Monday, October 17, 2005

Ivory-billed Woodpecker on 60 Minutes

I watched 60 Minutes on CBS last night! It was a great opportunity to learn a little more about the re-discovery of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker ... otherwise known as the Lord God Bird. According to Ed Bradley's report the woodpecker was called the Lord God Bird because it was so beautiful and impressive that when people saw it they said "Lord God ... what a bird".

I've never been to Arkansas and from what I saw on the show it has an incredible natural world called the Big Woods, where the Ivory-billed Woodpecker has reported to have been sighted. It was described on the show as "... one of the most exotic and the most inhospitable environments in America, a vast primordial ooze (swamp), a place so wild, the Big Woods have been called this country's Amazon". Needless to say, I am grateful for the opportunity to see it again on my computer.

The re-discovery of a bird thought to be extinct is exciting beyond words. For myself, I can only be thankful if such an event has taken place and the world may once again know and perhaps be given a second chance to delight in the beauty of an awesome bird.

I hope the news remains positive about this discovery and not end in a situation like the Spix Macaw in South America. When I heard that a Spix Macaw had been sited in Brazil in the early 1990's, it turned out to be the last one in the wild. Continued sitings of the bird lasted over a few years, the last in 2000 ... and then reported perished in 2001. How incredibly sad. Hope for the future of this bird remains in the hands of the few breeders trying to save the species with the handful of remaining individuals in captivity. With a limited gene pool I wonder how successful they will be.

To think of how incredibly short-sighted and heartless it is to destroy species as well as ecosystems is hard to fathom. Thank goodness we live in a more enlightened time where there is now concern felt for these issues and people taking action. Perhaps the Ivory-billed Woodpecker has been found and still has a chance for survival. If it does exist perhaps it won't end up vanishing like North America's only parrot, the Carolina Parakeet that was hunted to extinction in the early 1900's ... along with the demise of so many others. For me, I celebrate the discovery of the Ivory-billed and pray for it's future and good fortune.

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