Living Ivory-Billed Woodpecker Photographed!?????

Posted by: Loren Coleman on January 22nd, 2010

The photographs have not been released yet, but this press release has been:

Daniel Rainsong Finds Living Ivory-Billed Woodpecker!

By Joe Hepperle 

On December 29, 2009, Daniel Rainsong found and photographically documented a living Ivory-Billed Woodpecker in the southern Sabine River basin. The bird was again spotted and photographed a second time, later. Assisting at different times in this organized search (Project Indigo) were Rita Goldstein and CheyAnna Donaldson. Daniel Rainsong spent 30 days (Dec 2009-Jan 2010) in specific predetermined locations in the Southern Sabine River basin in search of the Ivory-Billed woodpecker. 

Once the master of the trees in the Southern old-growth forests, the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker was believed to be possibly extinct for decades. The last known uncontested sighting was in the first half of the last century. Since then there have been sporadic unconfirmed ‘one-off’ sightings in various locations of the Southern United States. A supposed ‘rediscovery’ was claimed in 2004, but efforts to confirm that alleged discovery proved fruitless. A small core group from that 2004 search, who have a vested interest, still believe — apparently on faith alone — that the alleged 2004 sighting was real. 

The Ivory-Billed Woodpecker has a look-alike cousin known as the Pileated woodpecker. The Pileated is not extinct and inhabits the same areas once ruled by the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker. There are enough differences between the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker and its cousin, the Pileated Woodpecker, to distinguish one from the other. Mistaken-identity sightings are the cause of most alleged modern Ivory-Billed sightings. Mr. Rainsong has seen the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker’s cousin, the Pileated Woodpecker, many times. Mr. Rainsong is aware of the differences and he is confident that he would not mistake one bird for the other. 

Daniel Rainsong now has photographs to prove this new sighting. The photographs proving this new find are being sequestered to protect Mr. Rainsong’s right of claim in this discovery. After Mr. Rainsong’s rights in this discovery have been established and protected, the photographs will then be released to the public.

Released (allegedly) in conjunction with

Dr. James Van Remsen, Louisiana State University
Dr. Jerome A. Jackson, Florida Gulf Coast University
Dr. John M. Burnett, Department of Natural Resources
Dr. Stephen J. Dinsmore, Iowa State University ornithologist
Cornell University, Department of Ornithology

Daniel Rainsong plans to issue his official report through Iowa State University with Dr. Dinsmore. Mr. Rainsong studied under Dr. Dinsmore’s father, Dr. James Dinsmore, at Iowa State University in the 1980s.

Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.

19 Responses to “Living Ivory-Billed Woodpecker Photographed!?????”

  1. planettom responds:

    Hallelujah! Amazing!! I can’t wait to see the photos. This is tremendous news!

    Congratulations to Daniel Rainsong and his team of investigators.

  2. camperwoman responds:

    Dr. Van Remsen was my zoology professor at LSU. If he says ivory-Billed Woodpeckers still exist, especially in the Pearl River Basin as was reported years ago, I believe him.

  3. dogu4 responds:

    Yeah! And I really mean it!!!

  4. cryptidsrus responds:

    Great day!!! Good job, Mr. Rainsong!!!

    Cannot wait to see the photograph!!!

    Good day for Birdwatchers and CryptoFans. Indeed. 🙂

  5. shamner responds:

    I’m glad to see an LSU faculty member is active in the search. GEAUX Tigers.

  6. Alton Higgins responds:

    What is this “right of claim” all about? I’m guessing this is a hoax.

  7. korollocke responds:

    If this is for real then show bird, quit stalling.

  8. cloudyboy87 responds:

    Sweet! I’m glad there’s credible pictures now. I swear I have seen one on our land, but I could be wrong. I’m about 80% sure it was an Ivory Bill though. That would be awesome.

  9. AlbertaSasquatch responds:

    I am guessing that a “right of claim” would have to do with his name being associated with the official “rediscovery” of this bird. Giving credit where credit is due. Why would you guess this is a hoax Alton?

  10. Imaginary Friend responds:

    I’m praying this is not a hoax, or a retouched photograph. It’s been so long without another validated sighting. Fingers crossed.

  11. dogu4 responds:

    Looks like the “right of claim” has to do with claiming the $50K which is being offered through a number of agencies, public and private. Mr Rainsong’s claim process has to result in his being able to bring a recognized project associated scientist to a site where positive ID can be made of a live specimen.
    There is much rancor amid certain segments of the ornithological world since Mr Rainsong comes from outside of that sphere which is dominated by professional ornithologists primarily in academia and in state and federal resource management agencies, and Mr Rainsong has made evident that his reason for searching was for the money…oh, and Mr Rainsong’s prior professional focus seems to have been as a professional gambler and the author of a book on how to win in black-jack, and so he has been characterized as not the kind of person a serious ornithologist would expect to make the discovery. Additionally, last year he ran an advert on Craigslist offering $10K for an assistant to help him in this venture (money presumably paid after the discovery claim is validated).
    No doubt the ornithological world is rolling its collective eyeballs at this moment, and Mr Rainsong’s claim has yet to be validated (so no pics), and seeing how unsuccessfull academia and government agencies have been at acquiring scientific evidence, it looks like it will be a bit of a hike through some unfamiliar woods before we know for sure.
    I don’t have any money on the table, but at this point I wouldn’t bet either for or against Mr Rainsong.

  12. Alton Higgins responds:


    I think this is a hoax, in part, because this whole deal is being portrayed and executed in such an odd way. For one, I don’t believe that stating the location, even generally, of Rainsong’s supposed observations is something anyone who truly had the best interests of the species at heart would do. In addition, presenting a “press release” from such an unconventional source and in such a bass-ackward manner, i.e., without corroborative statements of support from people like Kenn Kaufman, LSU’s Van Remsen, or the Lab of Ornithology’s Ken Rosenberg, is crazy. So far as I know, nobody has actually seen these photos, and Rainsong doesn’t appear to be a person who has previously been involved with birding or any kind of applicable fieldwork. Are we supposed to accept the validity of Rainsong’s bona fides and expertise on the basis of the word of another person unknown to the scientific community? The fact that he claims to have succeeded within days of the beginning of his venture last December just seems too far fetched from reality for me to swallow. Finally, Rainsong appears to be motivated by money, but that doesn’t make sense either because, as pointed out by others, he would then need to produce the real deal, presuming his photos are convincing.

    I hope I’m wrong, but nothing about this makes sense to me. I think it’s a hoax.

  13. AlbertaSasquatch responds:

    Thanks for the response Alton. I never knew about all of the extenuating circumstances and you are definitely right, there are some red flags popping up. Thanks for the rundown of the whole thing as well. I guess as Bill Green would say “to be continued indeedy………”

  14. MattBille responds:

    The author of the blog Ivory Bills Live is expressing his doubts.

    We’re going to have to wait and see whether Mr. Rainsong does submit his photos to the independent experts he mentions, then wait for the verdict.

    I hope it’s all real, but we’ve had a lot of false alarms on this bird. My personal opinion is that there are still a few birds scattered around the Southeast (some of the Florida sightings are interesting, and I’m not convinced the Arkansas case has been disproved), but every year may be the species’ last. I pray I am too pessimistic.

  15. YourPTR! responds:

    Looking forward to seeing these new photographs, this news story sounds fantastic! 🙂

  16. planettom responds:

    hopefully my excitement is not premature. I hope the photos pan out to be the real thing, verified and true.

    I don’t live very far from the Sabine River basin. Maybe I should go take a hike one day, camera in hand of course. 🙂

  17. cryptidsrus responds:

    Ultimately, we’ll just have to wait and see…

  18. DWA responds:


    To most of the public, cryptozoology seems to consist of two things.

    1) Showing blurry pictures and trying to coax monsters out of them, sort of like we make clouds into dragons.

    2) Seeing something – or saying you did – and at the same moment you blare the news, hide everything to secure the rights.

    Says here: no one who has anything even really interesting, to say nothing of conclusive, will hide it. There will be no need to do so. Your name will be attached to what you submit, by virtue of your submitting it. If you want to get confirmation from reputable scientists first, why sure. But that does not sound like the case here.

    I agree with Alton. I personally think the sasquatch is more likely to be with us than the ivorybill. But that is not why I agree with Alton. Why I agree with Alton is the strong smell of an animal known to be eaten by the (confirmed) US occurrence of the Amazon Kingfisher.

  19. cheytown responds:

    sorry to disappoint all of you but Daniel Rainsong’s supposed sighting of this bird is a lie. I was the photographer on the trip with him and I saw no such bird. Rainsong stole $10,000 from his ailing mother in order to fund this expedition, facts unknown to me until after this trip. Rainsongs brother, Joe Hepperle (who released this information) added the bird into the shot after our return. Rainsong changed his name from Hepperle to Rainsong in the late 80s after stealing birds from a farmer in Arkansas. Rita Goldstein is his sister and Rainsong is yet to pay me for my work done in those 2 weeks. He’s a cheat and a fraud, sorry to disappoint. There is still hope for the ivory-billed but do not trust the words of Daniel Rainsong or his associates. The doctors listed above did NOT approve his sightings.

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