The discovery of the 'extinct' Ivory Billed Woodpecker (a.k.a the Holy Grail of birding) in 2004 in the Big Woods region of eastern Arkansas; a 550,000-acre corridor of swamps and floodplain forests; was an earth shattering event in the birding world. Unfortunately no other birds have been seen since that time and the sighting has been scrutinized by members of the scientific community, with several scientists claiming that the discovery was actually a case of misidentification.
However, the US Fish and Game remain optimistic and a lot of research is being done in the area. The latest research involves the use of NASA lasers to map ideals habitat for the Ivory Billed Woodpecker. In addition, computer technology and remote camera and audio recording (see Project ACONE) is also being conducted with some promising results.
For an update on the results for 2006 and 2007 click here.
BTW, people often ask you what you would do if you won the lottery. If I won, I would want to be involved in this exciting project. Based on the latest research I'm optimistic that the Ivory Billed will be found and it would be amazing to be a part of that. I guess in order to win the lottery you need to buy tickets ;-)