Extinct? Or Not?
Posted: September 1, 2022
Knock-knock. Any ivory-billed woodpeckers out there?
Officials at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service can’t decide. They want six more months to think about it.
Scientists are busy searching and collecting evidence of the rare birds. The extra months may give them time to prove the lost species still exists . . . if it does.
Have you seen or heard the missing bird? Ivory-billed woodpeckers have a 30-inch wingspan. Their call is high and nasally—almost like a squeak. Unlike other woodpeckers, they knock twice while pecking for beetles: knock-knock!
The birds were listed as endangered before now. Woodpeckers live in forests. Ivorybills build their nests in cypress and pine trees. As people have cleared forestland to build, ivory-billed woodpeckers lost their homes. They could no longer survive. Last year, wildlife officials said they were going to declare them extinct (along with 22 other species!).
But they want to make sure every last one has really flown the coop. So they allow people to submit clear photos and videos of ivory-billed woodpeckers.
Ornithologist John Fitzpatrick says he thinks the birds are still out there. He says no one has snapped a really gorgeous, magazine-worthy picture of one lately. But he claims people do have evidence the birds still flit around rural Louisiana and Arkansas. One online video shows a group of three large woodpeckers pecking high in a tree. “The only woodpecker that foraged together in small groups was the ivorybill,” Mr. Fitzpatrick says.
God knows every bird everywhere. People can only make their best guesses. What will the experts decide? Will they say, “Ivorybill is gone for good” or “Too early to tell”?
I know all the birds of the hills, and all that moves in the field is mine. — Psalm 50:11
Why? God knows every bird everywhere in the world. People are limited. They can make their best guess about whether a species still exists.