How The Story Of The Ivory Bill Woodpecker Story Goes.
First off I would like to say that I have seen pileated woodpeckers here nearly all my life while hunting these woods, many of the locals and the old timers always referred to the pileated woodpecker as a "redhead woodpecker" or a "wood hen", I myself had always had an interest in wildlife and prefer doing my own research on them.
The pileated woodpecker never really caught my interest much, the pileated woodpecker has a pretty crest on his head but the body plumage is what I refer to as a drab black almost like the common crow, it also has a black colored beak and a rather short set of tail feathers.
So with knowing these common traits of the common pileated woodpecker I really got blind sided when this large bird in the photo to the left showed up, I will be adding more photos at the bottom of this blog that you can click on to view the larger version of their thumbnails.
I was in awe at the beauty of this bird's plumage, the plumage on this bird's body almost did not even look like feathers, but rather more like the bright shiny fur on a skunk, I use to see a lot of skunks back when I use to go bow hunting for deer out in Greenbrier County and I am telling you that the shiny bright black and white fur coat of a skunk is the closest resemblance that I can think of for this birds body plumage.
Another thing that caught my eye other than that beautiful shiny black and white plumage was that this bird did not have the shorter black beak of the pileated woodpecker.
This bird in this photo had a much longer heavier built beak that appeared to be white or white to yellowish unless it's beak was white and some of the tree sap it had been digging in had stained it yellowish, another thing that caught my eye was the width and length of the huge bright white stripe on both sides of this bird, you can even see the white at the tip of the wings that run the length of it's primary feathers and this is another trait that I have never seen on a pileated woodpecker.
Another thing that really caught my attention was the sheer size of this bird, it was at least in the order of 16 to 18 inches in length from the top of it's crest to the tip of it's tail feathers "at least", for reference of size the large rusty pipe that you see behind the woodpecker is a natural gas line that runs down the side of most of tug river and dry fork river through much of the Appalachian mountains, the gas line is somewhere around ten or fifteen yards behind the tree that this bird is on, "this bird was very close to the size of a mallard duck".
One other thing I would like to note about this bird is that the way it moved around the tree and back when I was trying to get photos was kind of odd, it was almost like it would be there and when I would raise my camera and try to focus it was almost like it would move so quickly in a side to side motion that it was almost like a magician, like "now you see me, now you don't", so you can imagine being caught off guard by this quick moving bird that early in the morning before 8:30 A:M with an old manual focus prime lens with my old canon XT and only 1600 ISO to play with.
Here in this area you are kind of sandwiched between two very large mountains and at the time of year when those photos were taken the sun does not even begin to peak over the mountain until sometime after 10:30 A:M in the morning, I am surprised that with that kind of lighting and the type of shutter speed I needed to use that any of the photos turned out at all, thankfully I have a little bit better equipment now than I had back then as I hope to further pursue this and other animals as well.
Before my encounter of this bird I would like to state the fact that although I had seen many pileated woodpeckers in my life that before this day I not only had never seen an ivory bill woodpecker but I had never even heard of such a thing as an ivory bill before, it was not until this photo that I hit the search engines to see if I could find information on any other large woodpeckers in North America, that was the first time that I ran into the ivory bill woodpecker's history.
As far as I could conclude from learning what I could about any other large woodpeckers in North America it basically boiled down to the pileated woodpecker was suppose to be the only "large" woodpecker in North America, but the problem with that is that the large woodpecker in my photos has a whiter and heavier built beak, it has a bright shiny black and white body plumage, it has long pointed tail feathers, it has white wing feathers that run to the tip of the wings, and it is nearly the size of a mallard duck, with all these different traits this can only leave so many options, either we are looking at an ivory billed woodpecker, or a hybrid species, or a whole new species of woodpecker all together that has remained hidden "in other words a cryptid species".
Comments related to the research of this animal are welcome below, however this site is focused on those who have a serious interest in this bird or other cryptids because at Cryptids And Photos this site is to be used for one purpose only and that is for the documentation and research of possible cryptid and possibly extinct animals, you may also click the thumbnails below to view larger photos of this animal, many of them did not turn out very good but one came out pretty fair but like I said they were taken under trying conditions and not with the best of equipment.