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For immediate release
April 28, 2005
Chad Campbell, 202.513.2304

NPR's April 28 Morning Edition Breaks Broadcast Exclusive About Discovery Of Iconic American Bird Considered Extinct for 60 Years

NPR's Christopher Joyce Travels with Team Doing Year-Long Secret Research

WASHINGTON, DC -- In a broadcast exclusive on today's Morning Edition, NPR Science Correspondent Christopher Joyce reports that scientists believe a legendary American bird long considered extinct has been discovered in an Arkansas swamp, concluding a search lasting more than 60 years.

"This could be one of the great wildlife discoveries of all time: it's not every day that a species comes back from the dead," noted Joyce. He reported the story for NPR/National Geographic Radio Expeditions, a co-production of NPR and the National Geographic Society.

The bird is the Ivory-billed Woodpecker, and its discovery would be considered one of the greatest comebacks in environmental history. Joyce reports that bird experts first spotted the large, showy woodpecker more than a year ago, but kept the find a secret while they worked to support their findings and protect the woodpecker's swampy habitat. But earlier this year, the search team allowed Joyce to join them. His exclusive takes listeners paddling on Arkansas's White River with researchers from the Cornell University Laboratory of Ornithology and The Nature Conservancy.

Joyce tells a detective story of a determined and passionate search... covering 500,000 acres of American swamp and forest... drawing together universities, nature experts, sheer amateurs and secret donors who contributed more than a million dollars to support the project... all leading to the heralded return of a bird often considered the symbol of the lost American wilderness.

Additional stories on the discovery will air on NPR's All Things Considered this evening and on Morning Edition on Friday, April 29. NOTE: More detailed, peer-reviewed information on the discovery has been accepted for publication by the journal Science, and is now available publicly. Both Joyce's report and a link to the Science paper are available on

NPR/National Geographic Radio Expeditions uses top talent from both institutions, along with state-of-the-art digital stereo recording equipment, to produce monthly features about the natural world and threatened environments, diverse cultures, exploration and discovery for Morning Edition.

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