Ivory-billed Woodpecker

Ivory-billed Woodpecker

Ivory-billed Woodpecker by Megan Kissinger
Species & Artwork Details
Status: 
Critically Endangered
Family: 
PICIDAE
Order: 
PICIFORMES
Genus: 
Campephilus
Species: 
principalis
Population trend: 
decreasing
Authority: 
(Linnaeus, 1758)
Synonyms: 
Picus principalis
Medium: 
Acrylic
Having been born in a small town along the Panhandle of Florida, I have followed the saga of the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker for most of my life. Before its extinction from the swamps and hardwood forests of the Southeastern United States, this large and powerful bird was given the nickname "Lord-God Bird" due to the exclamation one might let out the first time they see one: "LORD GOD!" Ornithologists think this bird was reliant on old growth forests for its food. Foraging by using its powerful beak to tear away large sections of bark to get to the grubs and insects within. When these forests were cut over the past 150 years, the birds disappeared along with them. One of the saddest things is the realization that if some miracle occurred and we found a few survivors, they likely could not survive or thrive without these old growth trees, the only way they know how to find food in the wild. This bird is the first thing I think of when I hear the famous quote by conservationist and writer Aldo Leopold, "We are remodeling the Alhambra with a steam shovel and we are proud of our yardage."