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A Special Bird Fossil, Ivory-Billed Woodpeckers, and the Curious Potoo Bird | E27

Neil is an author, scientist, and ornithologist based in Canberra. Each week, he rounds up some of the most recent news, stories, and insights on all things birds through this weekly bird wrap. This week, Neil talks about:
– A certain bird fossil that has led to a mindblowing discovery about bird evolution.
– The Ivory-Billed Woodpecker
– The Curious Potoo Bird


Looking for some fascinating facts and interesting news about birds? Look no further – this week’s weekly bird wrap delves into three different stories on all things birds.

This week is a mix of happy and sad news. First, we go back in time through an interesting collection of bird fossils by a man extremely passionate about paleontology, to the potential extinction of the Ivory Billed Woodpeckers, and finally to a curious, and strangely amusing bird called the Potoo.

A rare collection of bird fossils from 55 million years ago was donated to a museum in Scotland

An astounding collection of bird fossils dating back to as early as 55 million years ago, has been donated to the National Museums Scotland in Edinburgh. It is said that there could be at least 50 species of birds in this collection, and at least a dozen of them have yet to be discovered by man and could tell us a lot about the early stages of the evolution of some bird species. This is all thanks to a man named Michael Daniels, who unfortunately passed away last September. 

The amazing thing about Daniels is that although he is not a paleontologist by profession, he still dedicated his life to this passion, and all the methods he performed to acquire these fossils are self-taught and he has actually sifted through an estimated 15 tons of mud in his entire lifetime using only tweezers to find these fossils. 

In the video above, Neil shows his admiration for Michael Daniels, and the legacy he leaves is considered a great win for science and mankind. 

Ivory-billed Woodpeckers: Are they really extinct?

The Ivory-billed Woodpecker is a species of woodpecker found in both North and South America. It is one of the largest woodpeckers in the world. Unfortunately, they have been greatly endangered for decades, and now, scientists are coming to terms with the possibility of their extinction as there have been no signs of life for this species for a while now. Once declared extinct, all funding is lost to conduct studies and searches for the Ivory-Billed Woodpeckers.

Woodpeckers are an important part of many ecosystems, and their decline can have significant impacts on the surrounding environment. Unfortunately, there are many potential causes that can lead to the Woodpecker’s extinction. Some of the biggest threats are habitat destruction, urbanization, deforestation, and even overhunting. 

The curious, strange yet fascinating Potoos 

The Potoo bird is a fascinating species found in the tropical regions of Central and South America. It is a nocturnal bird with a unique physical appearance, with huge eyes and even bigger mouths. Another amazing thing about Potoos is their ability to camouflage, which also makes them really hard to spot. 

Recently, someone posted a photograph of the Potoo online and has truly captured the bird from a rare and somewhat goofy angle. Potoos have been mistaken for owls because of their big heads and piercing eyes. If you’ve never seen a Potoo before, he highly recommends you watch the video above to get a glimpse of this fascinating bird.  

Australia is indeed a bird paradise. Check out the rest of our website to book birdwatching walks and safaris around Canberra to different parts of Australia, as well as other stunning locations off the beaten path.

The Best Birdwatching Tours and Safaris in Australia | Neil Hermes: Author, Ornithologist, and Tour Guide 

A scientist by background, and a keen author, researcher, tour guide, and ornithologist, Neil traveled to Australia and other parts of the world for decades – fuelled by his unwavering passion for birds, publishing his findings, planning birdwatching safaris and participating in bird conservation efforts along the way. His passion for both birds and tourism gave him the much needed push to start Neil Hermes Safaris, touring aspiring birdwatchers and enthusiasts around Canberra, and all over Australia.

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