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An illustration of the rare ivory-billed woodpecker.
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USFS

Where’s the Woodpecker? Rare Bird Sighted for First Time in 60 Years!
News story originally written on May 2, 2005

Nobody had seen North America’s largest woodpecker in 60 years. This species, called the ivory-billed woodpecker, is very rare and scientists thought it was probably extinct. These woodpeckers are large but they are not easy to find because they are shy and live deep in forests. But recently a bird has been spotted in eastern Arkansas, not far from where it was last seen 60 yeas ago!

These woodpeckers, and about 85 other bird species in North America, make their homes in dead trees. But people often cut dead trees down because they are not as beautiful, because they are homes to insect pests, or because they are fire or safety hazards. So, there are often few places left for these birds to make their homes. Additionally, three quarters of the forest in the Southeast United States where the ivory-billed woodpecker lives has been cut down in the past 120 years.

Last modified May 2, 2005 by Lisa Gardiner.

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