Chapter topics change randomly from the extinction of the ivory-bill
, to a general Native view of the earth and environment, to a chili recipe (I assumed this was an attempt at humor), to a critical analysis of John Mohawk's Utopian Legacies (1999).
"Few die-hards seem capable of believing that anybody else--whether a knowledgeable outdoors person or even a respected ornithologist--could actually see or hear an ivory-bill
." So when a team of scientists declared in 2005 that they had laid eyes on an ivory-bill
in eastern Arkansas, and produced a fuzzy 11-second video as evidence, there was much rejoicing about this "official" sighting.
That recording has been used ever since, carried into the wilderness by any number of ornithologists and birders, who have hoped to get a responding call, and now it is available as a tchotchke: a small version of the ivory-bill
is available in museum stores, which, when squeezed, emits the call recorded in 1935.
In fact, the ivory-bill
has been called the "Lord God Bird" because observers were moved to exclaim, "Lord God, look at that bird!"
Since the early 20th century scientists have been trying to prove the ivory-bill
woodpecker is extinct, dismissing claims of sightings despite many reports to the contrary.
But then, in the late 19th century, thousands of acres of woodland were cleared for logging and agriculture and, surprise, surprise, the numbers fell dramatically until conservationists assumed that the ivory-bill
had become the sixth American bird to vanish in the wild since 1880.
like the ivory-bill
there will be unconfirmed sightings and distant
was a natural denizen of old-growth forests in the southeastern United States and Cuba.
Now tourists plan trips to see the ivory-bill
before it succumbs.
"Finding the ivory-bill
in Arkansas validates decades of great conservation work and represents an incredible story of hope for the future."
The huge woodpecker came out of the shadows like Lazarus, appropriately enough staging a resurrection here amid some of the last, best remnants of prime ivory-bill
habitat to be found in the continental U.S.
woodpecker inspired her passion for birds.