The Ivory-Billed Woodpecker
The ivory-billed woodpeckers are a majestic, solitary bird of the USA. Although their population was once fairly moderate, it has now gone down to a dangerously low number. These birds are a wondrous part of nature’s society; so read on to learn more about this creature, and how you can help.
The ivory-billed woodpeckers are most prominently distinguished by the large amount of white on their wings, and their unique calls. They usually average to about twenty inches, making them the world’s second largest woodpecker. Males have a large scarlet crest atop their head, while the females’ crests are black and less recognizable. It is also known as the “lord god bird” because whenever someone saw the bird, they would yell “Lord, god! What a bird!” Their stiff wing feathers make them surprisingly loud fliers. Their “ivory” bills are actually just a thick layer of keratin that grows in size as they mature.
The diet of the ivory-billed woodpecker is not very unique at all. Their main diet consists of wood-boaring bugs and beetle larvae found in the trees they excavate. Other foods may range anywhere from nuts to fruits to berries.
Ivory bill sightings usually occur in locations in or near the swamps of Arkansas, Texas, or Louisiana, or in northern Cuba. Ivory bills are said to mate for life, although mating is very rare. This is because of deforestation, and the need for space when mating. One pair of the species needs at least five to six square miles of open forest to mate. They mate every year between January and May. Two to five eggs are usually laid, and the parents take shifts sitting on the eggs. The female usually takes her shift during the day, while the male keeps watch over night. The eggs are china white, and easy to spot. Five weeks after hatching, the chicks can fly. After this, the parents will only feed them for about two months. The entire family will split up in late fall or early winter.
Attempts at Conservation
Many attempts at conservation have been made to try and save the ivory-billed woodpeckers. Programs have been set up to save the bird, such as programs that allow contributors to adopt a part of the known habitat of the bird to prevent habitat destruction. Ornithologists around the world have tried to find more prominent evidence of the bird's existence. The only remaining evidence that can be used to scientific advantage is sound recordings and a blurry video with a flash of white on the underside of a bird’s wing in the background.
How You Can Help
If you want to help in the fight for the ivory-bills, there are many different programs you can participate in to maintain the species. Visiting the sites listed below can help you help them, and there are ways you personally can help. If you are familiar with any logging companies in southwestern Texas, Arkansas, or Louisiana, try to politely state your case and ask if you can adopt a piece of property. You can participate in any adopt a forest programs also. One of the large ways to help is also not to poach the birds. Some people mistake the bird for any close relatives that are legal game and even shoot the bird not realizing how valuable it may be. So remember, help in the fight to keep this species alive.
Thank you, to all the following for all your help in our research…