Arkansas’ Most Wanted

Posted by: Craig Woolheater on June 25th, 2006

Ok, it wasn’t as if Arkansas conservation agencies put out "Wanted: Dead or Alive" posters for the ivory-billed woodpecker.

But what they did might be bad enough.

Starting Monday, The Nature Conservancy in Arkansas plans to offer a $10,000 reward for information that leads to an ivory-billed woodpecker nest, roosting cavity or feeding site in the state.

It’s understandable that wildlife officials would like to track down the reclusive bird, which was thought to be extinct until one was reportedly sighted in 2004.

There’s been a spirited debate since then about whether the bird spotted in the Cache River National Wildlife Refuge was actually the real McCoy. Subsequent cases in which people thought they had seen the so-called "Lord God Bird" (after what people may be inclined to shout when they see the big sucker) turned out to be false alarms.

Knowledgeable bird watchers have no doubt been on the lookout for an ivory-billed woodpecker just for bragging rights, without any financial incentive at stake. So is it really wise to invite a bunch of untrained goofballs to start crashing through the woods in search of a quick 10 grand?

It’s easy to imagine how many pileated woodpeckers (a more common species) might be subjected to undue harassment while the search is on. Putting a bounty on the ivory-billed birds might also prompt a flood of grainy, out-of-focus photos like the ones reputed to prove the existence of Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster.

Maybe some profit-minded adventurer will get lucky. At the very least, this might encourage some people to gain more knowledge about and appreciation for nature.

But remember that before the reputed 2004 sighting, the ivory-billed woodpecker had been on the lam a long time. This is one fugitive who won’t go down easy.

Source: The Commercial Appeal, Memphis, TN 

About Craig Woolheater
Co-founder of Cryptomundo in 2005. I have appeared in or contributed to the following TV programs, documentaries and films: OLN's Mysterious Encounters: "Caddo Critter", Southern Fried Bigfoot, Travel Channel's Weird Travels: "Bigfoot", History Channel's MonsterQuest: "Swamp Stalker", The Wild Man of the Navidad, Destination America's Monsters and Mysteries in America: Texas Terror - Lake Worth Monster, Animal Planet's Finding Bigfoot: Return to Boggy Creek and Beast of the Bayou.

11 Responses to “Arkansas’ Most Wanted”

  1. Forever_Elusive responds:

    Be ready to expect a lot of hoaxes. people will do anything for money….anything 😛

  2. chrisandclauida2 responds:

    how do you make fake ivory bills or feet to make prints with. maybe we can shoot some grainy 10 grand ay

  3. Ranatemporaria responds:

    information leading to nest or feeding site? Presumably an active site with a living population? That sounds a little more substancial evidence wise than a grainy photo! This would involve large scale well “drilled” trickery! It would be easier to find the critter i reckon!

  4. Ouroborus Jay responds:


  5. Jeremy_Wells responds:

    Hmmmm. I agree with those who worry about untrained “yahoos” harassing pileated woodpeckers, especially when experienced “birders”, as noted, are out there trying to spot them for “bragging rights.”

    It is something we in cryptozoology should consider. Amatuer naturalists (like birdwatchers) are a resource that we should use. But when the spectre of “quick cash” rears its ugly head, strange things happen (and I mean strange things like hoaxes and kooks crawling out of the woodwork, not the kind of “strange things” we are all hoping to prove are out there.)
    Money does weird things to people.

  6. Walter responds:

    According to an encyclopedia I have that was printed in the 80’s. The Ivory billed Woodpecker is still alive in Cuba. I can’t find anything on the net about it. Anybody here know about that? I’m sure Castro would welcome hoards of yank bird watchers to come down and prowl his Caribbean paradise.

  7. twblack responds:

    I just wonder for 10 grand someone finds one and says well lets shoot it and the proof can not be in question. I think if a dead one is brought in by someone no Reward and they should be fined 10 grand!

  8. shumway10973 responds:

    let’s hope there are rules like, “Don’t bother their nest” or such. If we are talking about the last (what pair?) I would hate for some idiot to destroy one of the last chances. If/when they do find it then what? Are they going to remove them and “protect” them in a zoo or something? Plenty of other animals can’t breed like that.

  9. Jimi responds:

    I almost hate to say this, but….. I accidentally killed one in April 2002.

    When this happened I had never heard of an Ivory Billed Woodpecker before. One morning while going to Jonesboro to take care of some family business, I left my motel room in Hardy and started out to Jonesboro on my motorcycle. When I went though Black Rock and crossed the bridge doing about 65-70 mph about the time. I left the bridge and one of these woodpeckers flew out of the trees rather low and hit the bike on the front fender and glanced up and got caught in between the windsheild and turn signal by its leg. Before I got stopped, due to wind it had marred the paint on the tank and had broken the turn signal up pretty bad. (I replaced the turnsignal the next day). Anyway like I said I had never heard of one of the things before but I did know it was a woodpecker due to the coloration. Heres where it gets bad. I pulled out the now dead bird from the bike and tossed it to the side of the road and wiped the blood off the bike and my right side of my jacket. I went on about my business and never thought of it again until I saw all of the news hype on the TV about it.

    Other than the wife this is the first time I have ever told this publically due to the fact that I figured I might have gotten fined or shot by some bird watcher. The bike still carries the scars on the paint. The bike in question is a Honda VTX 1800R.

    I know this sounds crazy but as God is my wittness it is 100% truth.

  10. kittenz responds:

    Are you sure it wasn’t a Pileated woodpecker that you accidentally killed? They are large, black and white woodpeckers that are very similar to Ivory Billed woodpeckers.

  11. Jimi responds:

    I’m positive to what it was. Like it states. Ivory billed woodpecker

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