Monday, December 19, 2005

Worked up over a woodpecker

A story in The Gazette this morning tells of dozens of birders flocking to wildlife refuges of the Arkansas Delta, armed with cameras and binoculars. They are searching for the ivory-billed woodpecker, a bird that hadn't been seen for 60 years and was thought to be extinct. In 2004, a kayaker and amateur birder happened upon one in the eastern Arkansas swamps; that sighting excited dedicated birders who are determined to see the bird for themselves. We don't know if this red-capped bird has the box-office power of, say, a penguin, but the marketing has already begun. Ducks Unlimited is offering a limited-edition print by Ralph McDonald, the group's International Artist of the Year.

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