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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

A Look Ahead to Next Week's Show: The Last of the Ivory-Billed Woodpeckers

Air Date: Week of

A documentary report by reporter Brenda Tremblay.


(An old recording plays, with bird calls)

CURWOOD: The only known recording of the ivory billed woodpecker, made in the hardwood forests of Louisiana in the 1930s.

MAN: Like all other groups of birds that are endangered and becoming extinct, it's always the largest one that's most endangered, like the whooping crane, the largest crane, the trumpeter swan, the largest swan, the ivory billed woodpecker, the largest woodpecker.

MAN 2: The ivory billed woodpecker was probably not a bird that was following such a narrow path that it was doomed to extinction. In all likelihood it has to do with human manipulation of the habitat.

CURWOOD: Most scientists think the ivory bill is extinct. But the specter of North America's largest woodpecker continues to haunt hundreds of professional and amateur bird watchers. They refuse to give up hope that some of the terodactyl-like birds, with their 3-foot wing spans, might be hanging on deep in some southern swamp. Next week on Living on Earth: the search for the ivory-billed woodpecker, and a journey through the cultures of those who have made it their own holy grail.

(Music up and under)

MAN 3: Well, you know what the holy grail is, don't you? It's when you go out seeking something that's maybe not possible or not there, but you still go out to see if it's possible. (Laughs)


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