2022 collage, watercolour, gouache, coloured pencil, marker 22”4, 18”w
When the ivory-billed woodpecker was removed from the endangered species list in the 1960s, it did not represent good news; the species was thought to have gone extinct. The last official sighting of a member of the Cuban subpopulation was in 1986. The bird was “rediscovered” in the Big Woods region of eastern Arkansas in 2004, though identification of individuals sighted is the subject of debate among ornithologists. The largest contributor to the collapse of the ivory-billed woodpecker was habitat fragmentation and loss. The bird once occupied forest from southern Florida to Ohio, much of which was lost to logging; this habitat loss is represented by the cypress tree fragments in my collage. In my depiction of the species, also known as “the lord g-d bird” or “the ghost bird,” I appropriate the well-known Audubon illustration (circa 1830) but show it in partial form as if the illustration itself is disappearing. Line drawings of the bird also show partial states of being; connect the dots and paint-by-numbers further illustrate the demise of what was once the largest species of woodpecker in the New World.
- Hand colouring