I settled on a documentary, Ghost Bird. It peaked my interest as it detailed one of the most recent Ivory Bill Woodpecker sightings in recent history. Growing up in Louisiana, about 20-30 miles from Pearl River, where numerous unconfirmed sightings were reported, I often would keep watch that I too might happen on one (as you can tell, I was a really cool kid back in the day - most kids want to be popular, I wanted to find an extinct species).
Popularity aside, it wasn't a totally unreasonable expectation - the last uncontested sighting was in Louisiana, in 1944. The film, though, put a pretty dismal spin on the bird's chances of ever being confirmed; I still found it fascinating to finally really see what one looked like through archival photos, drawings, and yes, even many, many collected taxidermy examples (a possible contributor to its demise). I realized I probably wouldn't of recognized it had I seen it with my own eyes. With a wing span of 30 inches, it was a large bird with strange yellow eyes, and for the males, a crown of bright red.
If you need one reason to watch the film, do it for the story behind the rare encounter ornithologist, James T. Tanner had with a juvenile in the 1930's. A pair of Ivory Bills had been found and even better, a nest! Once the parents briefly parted for food, Tanner climbed the tree to band the nestlings. He found one, that clumsily fell out the nest. Talk about a bad day at the office; the little guy shook it off and proved to be one tough chick. They captured the cutest pictures (and the only that exist of a juvenile Ivory Bill). You can read a bit more about that here and see more pictures.
"when the last individual of a race of living things breathes no more, another Heaven and another Earth must pass before such a one can be again."--Lisa LeBlanc
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