Bird Thought To Be Extinct Recently Seen In Region 8

April 28, 2005 -- Posted 9:30 p.m. CDT

Augusta, AR -- "This will be as big as if you were sitting in your kitchen drinking coffee, and you saw a dinosaur run across your yard. The world would want to see it. In the birding world, this is just as big," said Cache River National Wildlife Refuge Site Manager, Dennis Widner.

The Ivory-Billed Woodpecker has been seen perching on the limbs of trees in the Cache River Refuge within the last year.

The first sighting came in February of 04, and then again in April.

Before 2004, the last reported sighting was in the early 1940's.

"International experts, people that are considered to be the foremost authorities, have viewed the evidence and conclude undeniably, .....the bird is here," said Widner.

It is believed that somewhere within the more than 60, 000 acres that is the wildlife refuge, lives a bird attracting worldwide attention.

"We have had media contacts from Japan. We think there will start being a large influx by the weekend, and beyond for several weeks that we will see a large influx of people here," said Widner.

Now, numerous organizations are working together to help protect the bird, but give people the opportunity to see it.

"We will direct the public to areas where they can possibly, if they can, see the bird as it flies through the canopy of trees," said Widner.

Widner says right now, they only know of one existing Ivory-Billed Woodpecker.

"In the whole entire world, and that's right here---but we sure hope there's more than one.....yes," said Widner.