Project Principalis

New Findings Released in the Search for the Ivory-billed Woodpecker

The National Aviary, along with Project Principalis, is delighted to announce that we have made available to the public the results to date of our search for the Ivory-billed Woodpecker. A paper titled, “Multiple lines of evidence indicate survival of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker in Louisiana” co-authored by Steven Latta, Mark Michaels, and eight other Project Principalis members and collaborators, can be viewed here. People who have been close to the search know that this is the result of many years of effort by Project Coyote, followed by several more years of intensive field work by the National Aviary and Project Principalis.

Project Principalis: A Search for the Ivory-billed Woodpecker

Aside from the Passenger Pigeon, the Ivory-billed Woodpecker is perhaps the most legendary North American bird. An impressive, large bird with striking features, the elusive Ivory-billed Woodpecker has been the subject of fascination and debate for over a century.

Project Principalis is a search for the Ivory-billed Woodpecker, one of North America’s most storied and iconic birds. The project is a collaboration between the National Aviary and the researchers, community scientists, and nature enthusiasts who made up the long-running Ivorybill search known as Project Coyote.

Frank Wiley and Mark Michaels wearing camo in the woods
Founders of the original Project Coyote search for the Ivory-billed Woodpecker, Frank Wiley and Mark Michaels.

Project Coyote was founded by Mark A. Michaels and the late Frank Wiley, a Louisiana native, to search for evidence of Ivory-billed Woodpeckers in the state, and to follow up on local reports of sightings. Mark first began blogging about the effort 2013, but the search for information and evidence of Ivory-billed Woodpeckers in Louisiana began in 2008.

During the 2018-2019 field season, Project Principalis embarked on a collaborative effort with the National Aviary and the University of Pittsburgh, focused on gathering acoustic data, collecting environmental DNA samples, and locating roost and nest sites. Researchers are aiming to document Ivory-billed Woodpeckers, document concrete evidence that establishes the species’ persistence, and start gathering behavioral data about what they believe is at least one group of surviving birds.

Learn More About Our Work

For media inquiries, please contact the National Aviary’s Department of Marketing and Communications at molly.toth@aviary.org.

For general questions and comments about the work of Project Principalis, please contact projectprincipalis@aviary.org.

Support this important project by directing your donation to Project Principalis.

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