We are not going to see an ivorybill
in our backyards.
Over the past decade, the ivorybill
has become the most famous woodpecker since Woody as professionals and amateurs have sought proof that the giant bird has not become extinct after all.
Would we be the last on Earth to hear an ivorybill?" Further searching has turned up nothing, and Jackson has been left to make meaning of the moment mostly alone -- both its joy and sadness.
Science alone cannot assess the diminished quality of a world without the ivorybill or the Xerces blue.
In 2005, a team from the famed ornithology department at Cornell University stunned the birding world by announcing that it had found the elusive ivorybill
in the wetlands of eastern Arkansas.
Alexander Wilson, early American naturalist and friend of Audubon, assigned the ivorybill noble rank.
Shorn of its habitat, the ivorybill declined precipitously in numbers.
The final descent of the ivorybill was closely watched by Roger Tory Peterson, whose classic A Field Guide to the Birds had fired my own interest in birds when I was a teenager.
There is no way to make a full and final valuation of the ivorybill or any other species in the natural world.
"Race at Morning" in William Faulkner's Big Woods (1931) has probably enjoyed a wider readership than anything ever written on deer hunting, and James Kilgo's Deep Enough for Ivorybills
(1988) is a beautifully crafted book.--JC