by Anthony Carpi, Ph.D., Anne E. Egger, Ph.D.
Figure 1: A picture of the cover of Science from June 3, 2005.
At approximately 1:30 in the afternoon on February 11, 2004, Gene Sparling spotted a large black and white woodpecker while kayaking on a rural bayou in Monroe County, Arkansas. The notes he posted to his website about the sighting caught the attention of Tim Gallagher and Bobby Harrison, two university researchers, and triggered a year-long research effort that resulted in the publication of a peer-reviewed paper in the journal Science. The link below gives free access to this research article. To learn more about scientific writing, including how research papers are organized, how they are reviewed, and how they contribute to our understanding of the scientific world, read the article and then try the exercise below.
Fitzpatrick et al. (2005) “Ivory-billed Woodpecker (Campephilus principalis) Persists in Continental North America,” Science 308:1460-1462.
If you are a registered teacher with the Visionlearning web site, you may access a teacher discussion guide by clicking here.
To learn more about the ivory-billed woodpecker, visit the Rediscovering the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker page at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
Anthony Carpi, Ph.D., Anne E. Egger, Ph.D. "The Case of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker," Visionlearning Vol. SCIRE-1 (2), 2009.