Woodpeckers with ivory bills
Tapped trees in the southerly hills
But a sighting is rare
We aren’t sure it’s there –
It would give avid birders a chill!
It projects a long tongue from its mouth
And eats too many insects to count
As it drills into the trees
Making holes with great ease
A hammer once heard ’round the south.
The bird has a look indistinct
(The Pileated’s visage is linked)
But if one is astute
There is no dispute
For one is fine, the other likely extinct.
The Ivory-Billed Woodpecker is thought to still be alive in the wild. Many sightings are reported, but no true proof. Even if these sightings are live specimens of the southern US, it is likely they are the last. This woodpecker is (was) the largest in North America – a mighty hammer across trees of the South.
Like all (most?) woodpeckers, it uses its tough bill to find bugs inside trees. It’s long tongue wraps around its skull when not in use. It has a strong resemblance to the northern Pileated, but it is not too hard to tell them apart given the Ivory-Billed’s striking dark feathers.