“Protecting the Ghost Bird”

The Chipola River Wildlife Sanctuary (1950-1952), managed by the National Audubon Society, was a refuge for Ivory-billed Woodpeckers in Florida. At that time, many ornithologists believed the bird to be extinct or dangerously rare. Our story features a number of prominent ornithologists, many of whom were very protective of the species and elected not to share information for fear of endangering any remaining birds. Therefore, the published literature contains relatively little information about the history of the sanctuary. Fredrik Bryntesson (Bryn Athyn College) will talk about the findings from his and William C. Hunter’s (US Fish and Wildlife Service) research that has located primary archival evidence such as fieldnotes, reports, and correspondence. This work has enabled them to reconstruct the history of the searches for the bird, the story of the sanctuary itself, and establish where it was located. The Chipola River Wildlife Sanctuary provides an excellent example of the change in mindset in the early to mid 1900s that led to increased awareness of the need to conserve wildlife and their habitat. Our story is not just about a bird; it is also about the people who were enchanted with the ghost bird and their dedication and passion to search for and protect this species.
Professor Fredrik (Figge) Bryntesson will talk on this topic at the Pennypack Ecological Restoration Trust’s (PERT) visitor center on Tuesday, January 22, at 7 p.m.