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Ivory-billed Woodpecker

By Steve Shanabruch

Despite recent claims, there have been no confirmed sightings of the ivory-billed woodpecker in over 70 years, making the status of one of the largest woodpeckers in the world uncertain. This is due in large part to deforestation in the Southeastern United States in the late-1800s and early-1900s. As a result, much of the ivory-billed's suitable habitat is isolated and inaccessible, which makes finding evidence of their existence hard to come by.

I saw an uncle of mine for the first time in a few years the week before I started this illustration: he was wearing a hat with an ivory-billed woodpecker embroidered on it. What are the chances? I learned that a company from my hometown, the Chicago Mill and Lumber Company, held the logging rights for one of the last known tracts of land that was home to multiple ivory-billed woodpeckers. Unfortunately, and despite pleas to the contrary, they cleared the land and the last known ivory-billed was gone by 1944.

 
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