Published on January 13th, 2009 | by Alex Felsinger


Find an Ivory-Billed Woodpecker, Win $50,000

January 13th, 2009 by

Get out some binoculars and a video camera: if you can find an Ivory-Billed Woodpecker, you could be $50,000 richer.


The Nature Conservancy has had enough. They’ve been searching for an Ivory-Billed Woodpecker in Alabama ever since 2004 when a video of one surfaced on the internet in 2004, but despite having the best bird trackers on their side, they’ve had no luck.

You might also want to grab a plane ticket, unless you already live in Alabama. The only known habitat for the woodpecker is the Big Woods of Arkansas, a huge bottomland hardwood forest and one of the last floodplain forests lining the Mississippi. In 1989, the floodplain forests were designated by the United Nations’ Ramsar Convention as a “Wetland of International Importance.”

For the past three years, The Nature Conservancy, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission have funded and coordinated searches for the bird in the Big Woods without turning up any trace. The illusive animal has quickly become the “holy grail” for birdwatchers.


Photo Credit: The Nature Conservatory

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About the Author

is primarily concerned with animal welfare, wildlife conservation, and environmental justice. As a freelance writer in San Francisco, he leads a deliberately simplistic and thrifty lifestyle, yet still can’t help gawking at the newest green gadgets and zero-emission concept cars.

  • S. Lohure

    Does it matter where (in which country) the ivory bill woodpecker is found?

    Last year (May 9, 2008)the natives of this village called a certain bird “The tusk of the elephant bird”, which translates into the ivory bill bird.

    When asked why they called it that name, they replied that it is because it has a white bill,which they compared to that of the elephant.

    This is the closest yet to the information that the ivory bill woodpecker lives after all, but not in the United States of America. It exists in another country.

  • kenneth beich

    as for your ivory billed woodpecker,i seen one 3 years back up in northern aroostook county,fort fairfield,maine.I remember it clear as day becuase it was the most beautiful bird I every seen in the wild.if you wish additional information email me at Billed woodpeckers are real.

  • cyberthrush

    “…without turning up any trace.”

    that’s a tad unfair, as there have been additional sighting claims, numerous possible auditory recordings, and possible foraging signs and cavities of the bird found… there simply has not been a definitive photo or video to put all doubts to rest. If the bird is ever photographed, suddenly the “traces” found will seem innumerable.

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