Walking with the Alligators

Walking with the Alligators
A Florida Alligator

July 30, 2011

The Ivory Billed Woodpecker

Last night we watched a Documentary, The Ghost Bird.
Although this was not a new subject to us, some of what we saw in this film was not known and very disturbing on several levels.
We know that this beautiful bird is more than likely extinct, but perhaps it might not have been without the help of the Logging Industries and the Science, Hunting and Garment Communities.
The demise of many birds and much wildlife began in the last century with the old growth timber deforestation of millions of acres all over this country.
Magnificent trees that once housed the largest Woodpecker in America, became fields of soybeans, the Ivory Billed Woodpecker and many other birds lost their habitats forever.
In this film, among other things, it was shown that one Ivory Billed nest, in particular, had it eggs removed, not once, but twice in a single breeding season.
To understand the scope of this, imagine that you are pregnant and awaiting the birth of your child and then when it is born, it is taken away from you.
So, you get pregnant again and again your child is taken away.
Can you imagine how this pair of birds who mate for life, must have felt?
And please do not tell me that birds cannot feel grief, because we simply do not know that.
Next we are shown massive Ornithology storage facilities; the endless steel cabinets with their countless drawers at Cornell, Harvard and Yale Universities.
We are shown tray after tray of dead Ivory Billed Woodpeckers and many other birds.
Now where do you suppose these elite schools acquired all of these dead birds?
It was never revealed.
We know that in the past hunters killed this and many other birds to eat them and also so that women could have pretty feathers on their hats!
We are told of the beautiful birds that no longer exist, including, the Ivory Billed Woodpecker, Carolina Parakeet, Passenger Pigeon and many others.
My question is this:
Is it possible that in our urgent need to clear the most land, have the best Ornithology Department, be the prettiest dressed woman, or most successful hunter, we contributed to the demise of these birds?
The price for our greed, for our selfish human nature was very high.
Was it all worth it?
Can't ask the birds, they're not here anymore.

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