Ivory-billed Woodpeckers

Description

The largest woodpecker in the United States, the American ivory-billed woodpecker (Campephilus principalis) has been referred to as the Lord God bird, the Good God bird, King of the Woodpeckers, and even as Elvis in Feathers – all exclamations onlookers have emitted upon seeing it. Native to the primeval hardwood forests of the Southeastern U.S., its habitat was decimated by heavy logging after the Civil War, and the species was considered extinct by 1944. However, in 2005, at least one male woodpecker was reliably sighted in the Cache River National Wildlife Refuge in Arkansas. Similar to national parks, national wildlife refuges are areas of public land set aside to preserve wild flora and fauna. They are available to the public for wildlife observation, photography, education, hunting, and fishing. Recently, research teams have also recorded sightings of the woodpecker in the Florida panhandle and Louisiana.
This painting is a copy of a watercolor done by prolific ornithologist and conservationist James Audubon in his book, The Birds of America (1838). Audubon commissioned painter Joseph Kidd to copy Ivory-billed Woodpeckers and other works as oil paintings for a traveling exhibition that never occurred. Although the birds and their perch appear identical to Audubon’s original composition, Kidd added the landscape background, thereby transforming the documentary-style illustrations into more conventional landscape paintings.
The painting depicts three American ivory-billed woodpeckers. The leftmost bird is a male, identified by its red crest, while the other two are females. The birds’ bills are a distinctive feature: long, straight, and laterally flat – similar in shape to a beveled wood chisel. The painting accurately represents the woodpeckers’ feeding behavior: using their bills, the birds hammer and strip bark from dead trees to find the larvae of wood-boring beetles, their main source of food.

MetaData

Dublin Core

Title

Ivory-billed Woodpeckers

Subject

Woodpeckers, birds, Audubon, Kidd, painting

Description

The largest woodpecker in the United States, the American ivory-billed woodpecker (Campephilus principalis) has been referred to as the Lord God bird, the Good God bird, King of the Woodpeckers, and even as Elvis in Feathers – all exclamations onlookers have emitted upon seeing it. Native to the primeval hardwood forests of the Southeastern U.S., its habitat was decimated by heavy logging after the Civil War, and the species was considered extinct by 1944. However, in 2005, at least one male woodpecker was reliably sighted in the Cache River National Wildlife Refuge in Arkansas. Similar to national parks, national wildlife refuges are areas of public land set aside to preserve wild flora and fauna. They are available to the public for wildlife observation, photography, education, hunting, and fishing. Recently, research teams have also recorded sightings of the woodpecker in the Florida panhandle and Louisiana.
This painting is a copy of a watercolor done by prolific ornithologist and conservationist James Audubon in his book, The Birds of America (1838). Audubon commissioned painter Joseph Kidd to copy Ivory-billed Woodpeckers and other works as oil paintings for a traveling exhibition that never occurred. Although the birds and their perch appear identical to Audubon’s original composition, Kidd added the landscape background, thereby transforming the documentary-style illustrations into more conventional landscape paintings.
The painting depicts three American ivory-billed woodpeckers. The leftmost bird is a male, identified by its red crest, while the other two are females. The birds’ bills are a distinctive feature: long, straight, and laterally flat – similar in shape to a beveled wood chisel. The painting accurately represents the woodpeckers’ feeding behavior: using their bills, the birds hammer and strip bark from dead trees to find the larvae of wood-boring beetles, their main source of food.

Creator

Joseph Bartholomew Kidd, British, 1808–1889

Source

Metropolitan Museum of Art (Met Museum)

Publisher

John James Audubon

Date

1830-1831

Contributor

Lauren Kohler

Rights

Public domain

Relation

Paintings and Sculpture

Format

99.7 x 66.7 cm (39 1/4 x 26 1/4 in.)

Language

En-US

Type

Painting

Identifier

41.18

Coverage

n/a

Date Created

February 22, 2018

Access Rights

Public domain

License

n/a

Has Part

n/a

Is Referenced By

n/a

References

n/a

Medium

Oil on canvas

Bibliographic Citation

https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/11332?sortBy=Relevance&deptids=2&where=North+and+Central+America%7cUnited+States&ft=*&offset=880&rpp=100&pos=903

Spatial Coverage

n/a

Temporal Coverage

19th Century

Accrual Method

Rogers Fund, 1941

Audience

General audience

Provenance

John James Audubon, New York, died 1851; his family, until 1937; with Knoedler Galleries, New York, 1937; Francis P. Garvan, New York, died 1937; with Knoedler Galleries, New York, 1941 (Accession Date: 1941)

Rights Holder

http://www.metmuseum.org/information/terms-and-conditions

Citation

Joseph Bartholomew Kidd, British, 1808–1889, “Ivory-billed Woodpeckers,” Park Culture, accessed March 5, 2021, http://parkculture.org/items/show/166.