|photo credit: judy_breck|
As massive trees were unsustainably logged for the timber trade, the last stable Ivory-billed Woodpecker (Campephilus principalis) populations began declining during the 1930’s as their vital nest trees disappeared, as noted by Arthur Allen, James Tanner and George Kellogg, ‘Ivorybill’ scientists who actively studied the species beginning over 75 years ago. (You can listen to a recording of the bird taken in 1935 by Arthur Allen by clicking here.) With a couple of possible unconfirmed sightings in Cuba and the southeastern United States over the last couple of decades, there were many individuals who wanted desperately to believe this bird still existed. Then a brief and controversial video clip was captured by David Luneau in 2004 in the Cache River Basin of Arkansas. After a quiescent period of serious planning, the scientists, led by Cornell Lab of Ornithology Director John Fitzpatrick, announced in a press conference that the Ivory-billed Woodpecker has been rediscovered. The events that followed that press conference are numerous and represent a fascinating ribbon weaving American history, culture, raging debate, and the true power of one word – hope.
Ghost Bird is a timely documentary that highlights the fascinating yet highly controversial issue revolving around the rediscovery of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker. Following an official selection of film festivals in Toronto, San Francisco, New York City, London and Rome, Ghost Bird has been honored with the 2009 Golden Eagle and the Southern Soul of Independent Film Award. Clearly, this special film is revered by audiences with varying interests, not strictly birdwatchers and Ornithologists.
It is with much enthusiasm that I announce this movie playing here at HMNS on Thursday, August 19 — the only scheduled viewing in east Texas and surrounding areas. For more information about the film you can watch the trailer below. To learn more about the showing at HMNS click here (if it is sold out, check back because we will try to offer additional show times).
Can’t see the video? Click here.
Here is what the critics are saying about Ghost Bird:
“Comic, mesmerizing and deeply poignant… reminiscent of the work of Errol Morris.”
- Brian Johnson, Senior Entertainment Writer, Maclean’s
“Excellent, informative and balanced, while also being very entertaining.”
- Dr. James Rising, Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology,
University of Toronto and American Ornithologist’s Union Fellow
“Beautifully crafted, heartbreaking, ironic and infuriating… It’s a stunner.”
- Michael Fox, NPR San Francisco
“It’s a fascinating story, with all sorts of twists and turns… the most compelling aspect of the film is the message it carries about bird conservation and our essential role in stewarding the birds and habitats that are in our control.”
– Graham Chisholm, Executive Director, California Audubon
“With the Pixies piped in to the background of the trailer, you know this is going to be one memorable documentary.”
- Dr. Dan Brooks, Curator of Vertebrate Zoology, Houston Museum of Natural Science