Saturday, April 23, 2011
Photo by Jonathan Schechter Orion Oaks County Park 4/20/11
Some believe the ivory-billed woodpecker is extinct. I am one of the hopeful ones that believes this elusive red-crested giant hangs on in the mountains of Cuba and isolated bottomland swamps of the southeastern United States. One thing is certain: If the ivorybills survive, they are extremely rare and elusive and shy of human activity. While a high quality photo or video has yet to be obtained, various groups of knowledgable and skilled birders have been reporting ivory-billed woodpeckers. Two separate areas of Louisiana have produced credible multiple sightings, while Florida and Arkansas credible sighting have waned. The search continues with human eyes and high-tech sound and image monitoring.
Michigan old growth forests are home to the magnificant pileated woodpecker and it has been said that there is no other bird it can be confused with. Not so! One glance at this classic Audubon print of an ivory billed woodpecker (below) and my photo of a pileated woodpecker (above) shows their stunning resemblance. On April 20th I hiked about the western section of Orion Oaks County Park and was delighted to first hear, and then see and then snap one quick photo of our native pileated woodpecker, our red-crested forest giant with an almost 30 inch wing span that has adapted to protected habitat conditions in this Oakland County Park, a 916 acre parkland surrounded by suburbia.
An Audubon sketch of the elusive ivory billed woodpecker