by Elisa Yang
There have been countless "IBWO expert" teams gathered in search of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker and an infinite stream of videos, photos, and movies on the topic of the desperate search for signs of its existence. It's never been rediscovered; yet everyone still seems to think it exists somewhere in the deep reaches of North America. People see Pileated Woodpeckers and they're Ivory-billed Woodpeckers. People go hunting for the Ivory-billed Woodpecker with a 1-pixel camera and come back every time with infallible evidence of it. It's enough to give every pessimist a nightmare. Not that our national obsession with the Ivory-bill a bad thing; several nature preserves were established for the sole reason that with all the publicity the Ivory-billed Woodpecker had garnered, it just didn't seem fit to not try and protect it.
In honor of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker, here's a gallery of birds that were, in the words of the optimistic, unrediscovered but found again.
Above: No one was searching for the Blue-bearded Helmetcrest that hadn't been seen for 69 years when they unexpectedly noticed it on an expedition to document the habitat in peril, Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta during March 2015. Look, it's identifiable in this photo, too.
The Myanmar subspecies/species (The news articles are just as hung up about taxonomies as our kind are.) of Jerdon's Babbler vanished for 70 years and rediscovered in a grassland quite recently. Here is the extremely rare, thought-to-be-extinct bird nonchalantly being held, by a person whose fingernails are far too clean to belong to a field biologist's.
No way am I going to put citations on an informal blog post, unless I get threatened to be sued in which case I'll do anything you want faster than you can say, "lawsuit. "Suck it, MLA format.
Here we go: "Extremely Rare Subspecies of Jerdon's Babbler Rediscovered in Myanmar," by Sci-news
In 2007, the Banggai Crow, which was "known to science only by two specimens described in 1900," according to "Article With a Really Long Title" (aka "Long Feared Extinct, Rare Bird Rediscovered") was observed hunching around in Indonesia.
It took two years for (probably) high school scientists to (probably) procrastinate for 23 months and then confirm its actual presence. This was due to its morphological similarity with the Slender-billed Crow. Here it is, in utter rage and disbelief that anyone would ever confuse it with that ugly Slender-billed Crow for a year, let alone two.
"OMG, Millie, did you hear what those brat high school scientists had to say about me?"
Three centuries. Almost three centuries of being thought extinct. Perhaps that has to do with how this seabird earned its name, Bermuda Petrel. With this rediscovery, every optimist can now hope that all the planes that dissipated in the Triangle of DEEAAAATTTHHHHH and were almost fated to never see land again will be spit unto the Western Paleartic ocean where the Bermuda Petrel now happily glides.
On the other hand, noone was really getting down and combing the ocean for this guy anyway. They were looking for a different kind of petr(o)l, the sort that resides in politically rife waters that Mr. Bermuda would avoid with a penchance.
Source: "Bermuda Petrel" by Birdlife
They didn't rediscover Forest Owlets for 113 years until 1997 in India. But when they did, they "forest"
it to pose for photos. The reply was, "Ok, Owlet you." It was either that or "hoot hoot." I'll let you decide which one is more realistic.
The Forest Owlet has the long-term conservation benefit of being cute, and therefore is probably more likely to keep on not-being-extinct as decided by the public.
Source and photo: "Forest Owlet" by Atula Gupta on India's Endangered
In 2009, thought-to-be-extinct Worcester's Buttonquail was rediscovered quailing in fear at a Luzon poultry market before it was enthusiastically digested and eaten by hungry humans. This is the type of story that you listen to disbelievingly and then bitterly remark "It's not April 1st, get with the times." Believe it or not, this sort of thing happens all the time... "in EVOLUTIONARY/GEOLOGICAL TIME!! aka once every 50000 years," -every geologist/evolutionary biologist ever
Article source and photo here: "'Extinct' Bird Seen, Eaten" courtesy NatGeo's Christine Dell'amore
Yes, I am reposting some of the better posts from my blog and editing them to be less offensive and have better writing while I'm at it. This is because For the Birders is going to replace Chiccadee's FTB! I know, sad.
Sorry this wasn't a citation, bibliographiles.
End. Happy birding!