Scientific Colloquium
March 16, 2007

"How Ivory-billed Woodpeckers (and Other Birds) Will Help Save the World "

Using sounds and illustrated stories, I describe the vital roles that birds play in fostering conservation of biological diversity throughout the world. Most important, birds represent our most accessible and sensitive indicator of ecological change. The Internet provides individual citizens unprecedented opportunity to provide data that answer important questions about bird populations at continental scales. Now humans can serve as worldwide biosphere sensors, but do we have the will to self-correct? Birds present us with motivation to do so and a barometer for measuring our successes and failures. Rediscovery of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker provides a clear case in point. I will describe the rediscovery, outline the science involved in our search for breeding pairs, and discuss what this spectacular “Lord God Bird” teaches us about both human nature and environmental protection.

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