Posted by: Craig Woolheater on March 8th, 2007
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology has published four previously unpublished photographs of Cuban Ivory-billed Woodpeckers on their website. Go to their website to read the entire story.
This previously unpublished photograph of an Ivory-billed Woodpecker was taken by George R. Lamb during a 1956 research expedition to Cuba. At right, a blow-up of the same bird, showing its distinctive markings.
I also recently found out about some other intriguing Ivory-billed Woodpecker pictures. Alan W. Knothe, a birding guide for Nature Tours who lives in the Florida panhandle, told me that Harold Bucher, an elderly Florida man who had lived in Cuba as a child, had some old black-and-white pictures of ivory-bills taken by his father shortly before World War II. Bucher’s father and a partner had opened a sawmill near Moa in northeastern Cuba during the late 1930s, when the area was still quite wild and remote. A couple of years ago, Bucher was cleaning up after Hurricane Charley when he discovered the pictures in his father’s personal effects.
One of them depicts an ivory-bill perched on the trunk of a dead tree, right beside a large cavity—perhaps the bird is at its nest or roost hole. The other two pictures are disturbing, depicting two different views of a captive Ivory-billed Woodpecker perched on a stake, with a length of twine tied to its leg (below). We are publishing these pictures here for the first time.
Unfortunately, no data were attached to these photographs, except for the year “1941” scrawled in ink on the back. Bucher is fairly certain that the pictures were taken near Moa, but we have no way of knowing exactly where or what happened to the birds in the photographs, so they may remain a mystery.Tim Gallagher