Project Principalis

Project Principalis: A Search for the Ivory-billed Woodpecker

Navigation

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 2014, but the search for information and evidence of Ivory-billed Woodpeckers in East-Central Louisiana began in August 2009.

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.

In The News

See All News

Owl-O-Ween Returns To National Aviary | KDKA - CBS Pittsburgh

The National Aviary’s Owl-O-Ween fall celebration will be back this year.

Read More »

National Aviary Celebrates the Mysterious Creatures of Fall with a Family-friendly Event Twilight Treks, and Owl-inspired Art | National Aviary News

Celebrate things that flutter and flap in the night this fall when three beloved fall festivities return to the National Aviary.

Read More »

Outstanding CEOs: Cheryl Tracy, National Aviary | Pittsburgh Business Times

Cheryl Tracy is a winner of a 2021 Fox Rothschild Outstanding CEOs and Top Executives award.

Read More »

Meet the National Aviary’s “Friends of the Flock” emerging leaders class | Pittsburgh Business Times

Friends of the Flock, an initiative for The National Aviary designed to engage young leaders in the nonprofit’s mission, has 14 new members.

Read More »

Fall season programs begin at National Aviary | Uniontown Herald Standard

Visitors to the National Aviary this fall can experience the world of forests and come face to face with forest-dwelling species from around the world.

Read More »