Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Lord God Bird: The Convergence of Conservation Science and Human Ingenuity

Without a doubt, the most incredible conservation story of the last 50 years was the announcement earlier this summer of the rediscovery in Arkansas of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker, long thought to be extinct. This discovery was described in varying detail in the abstract, full text, and supporting online material of a scientific paper initially posted on Science Express and subsequently published in the print journal Science. More recently, I found myself intrigued by the reactions--both positivie and negative--of the residents of Brinkley, Arkansas (where, thanks to enterprising citizens, one can now get an Ivory-billed burger and a woodpecker haircut), to the discovery of the bird in their midst, as chronicled in this audio account from National Public Radio (this link provided in accordance with NPR’s terms of use), which features clips from an original song by singer-songwriter Sufjan Stevens.

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