This Friday, the Aiken Audubon Society and Bear Creek Nature Center will be airing “Ghost Bird.” If you live anywhere near Colorado Springs, Colorado, I highly urge you to come learn more about the elusive Ivory-billed Woodpecker, believed to be extinct since the 1940s. Does it still exist? Here’s what the movie’s creators have to say:
Ghost Bird wades into a murky swamp of belief and obsession in this cautionary tale about birders, ornithologists and the citizens of Brinkley, Arkansas who are certain they keep seeing a giant woodpecker that’s been extinct for over half a century.
The Ivory-billed woodpecker has long been considered the Holy Grail by diehard birders who refused to believe it went extinct over sixty years ago. Once among the most spectacular birds in North America, Ivory-bills disappeared with the clear-cutting of the Southeast’s ancient swamp forests. As numerous species went extinct, it was the loss of the iconic “Lord God Bird” with its meter-long wingspan that ultimately galvanized the early American environmental movement.
Years later, a kayaker encountered a strange, giant woodpecker in an eastern Arkansas swamp. As a result, the nation’s top ornithologists launched a secret year-long expedition. When they finally announced confirmation of the Ivory-bill’s existence in 2005, it was celebrated around the world by many birders as the most significant event in their lifetimes. The bird’s second coming was also good news to the citizens of nearby Brinkley, Arkansas who welcomed the flood of tourists with Ivory-bill burgers, haircuts, souvenirs and an annual festival.
Following several years of searching and despite many millions of dollars spent by the single largest recovery effort for a lost species, the Ivory-billed woodpecker remains as elusive as ever. With the earth’s current rate of extinction peaking at over 100 times its evolutionary average, salvation may be too late for more than just Ivory-bills. Ghost Bird brings the woodpecker’s blurry rediscovery into focus revealing our uneasy relationship with nature and the increasing uncertainty of our place in it.
Friday, September 24, 7 – 8:30 pm plus ensuing discussion
Bear Creek Nature Center
245 Bear Creek Road
Colorado Springs, CO 80906
From I-25 Exit 141, go west on US Hwy 24 to 26th Street. Turn left (south) on 26th and proceed about 2 miles to Bear Creek Road.
$5 donation requested