Newly Found IBW Photos

Posted by: Craig Woolheater on March 8th, 2007

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology has published four previously unpublished photographs of Cuban Ivory-billed Woodpeckers on their website. Go to their website to read the entire story.

This previously unpublished photograph of an Ivory-billed Woodpecker was taken by George R. Lamb during a 1956 research expedition to Cuba. At right, a blow-up of the same bird, showing its distinctive markings.

Cuban Ivory-billed Woodpecker

I also recently found out about some other intriguing Ivory-billed Woodpecker pictures. Alan W. Knothe, a birding guide for Nature Tours who lives in the Florida panhandle, told me that Harold Bucher, an elderly Florida man who had lived in Cuba as a child, had some old black-and-white pictures of ivory-bills taken by his father shortly before World War II. Bucher’s father and a partner had opened a sawmill near Moa in northeastern Cuba during the late 1930s, when the area was still quite wild and remote. A couple of years ago, Bucher was cleaning up after Hurricane Charley when he discovered the pictures in his father’s personal effects.

Cuban Ivory-billed Woodpecker

One of them depicts an ivory-bill perched on the trunk of a dead tree, right beside a large cavity—perhaps the bird is at its nest or roost hole. The other two pictures are disturbing, depicting two different views of a captive Ivory-billed Woodpecker perched on a stake, with a length of twine tied to its leg (below). We are publishing these pictures here for the first time.

captive Ivory-billed Woodpecker

captive Ivory-billed Woodpecker

Unfortunately, no data were attached to these photographs, except for the year “1941” scrawled in ink on the back. Bucher is fairly certain that the pictures were taken near Moa, but we have no way of knowing exactly where or what happened to the birds in the photographs, so they may remain a mystery.Tim Gallagher

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.

6 Responses to “Newly Found IBW Photos”

  1. Ayala responds:

    Wow. Poor thing.

    I am glad to see a close-up photo (as opposed to drawing). I sincerely hope the IBW is out there. 🙂

  2. Fred Facker responds:

    There was a great article in either the November or December issue of National Geographic about the ongoing hunt to document a living Ivory Bill and the tactics the scientists are using in an attempt to find them.

  3. DWA responds:

    Am I the only one who noted, with appropriate irony, “Moa”?

  4. DWA responds:

    And I cannot resist noting this:

    The Patterson/Gimlin film is far clearer than either the top photo or the blow-up to its right. The bird in that blowup could be anything – even a bird.

  5. Porkchop responds:


    December 2006

    I have a picture of my wife and our friends under that SAME piece of art in Gene’s BBQ! Everyone should paddle the White River, it was beautiful.

    The second picture above looks like an Imperial, as it lacks the white stripe up its neck. I was thinking they would all be Imperial since it was in Cuba.

  6. Valen responds:

    The pictures of the bird tied to the stick are gut wrenching for me. It looks emaciated and God only knows what it went through. When I think of all that people did to this species, I just feel sick. I only hope some survive, like Cornell believes, and that this time around, we’ll have the sense to help preserve them, and not slaughter them as in the past. Long live the IBW!

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