In the vast mountain pine forests of Mexico's Sierra Madre Occidental lived a bird like no other—a spectacular giant woodpecker, two feet in length, largest of its clan that ever lived. With the deepest black plumage and brilliant, snow-white feathers that show as a white shield on its back, the Imperial is the closest relative of America's famed Ivory-billed Woodpecker. The last documented sighting of an Imperial Woodpecker took place in 1956, and yet rumors still persist among the mountain villagers that this bird still lives on in the remotest reaches of this mighty mountain range.
To find out if the rumors could possibly be true, author Tim Gallagher set out on a harrowing journey through the high country of the Sierra Madre, a vast, lawless region—now the epicenter of illegal drug growing in Mexico. Join Tim for a fascinating evening as he shares his adventures in search of this enigmatic ghost bird.
Tim Gallagher (FN '06) is an award-winning author, wildlife photographer, and magazine editor. He received the Explorers Club Presidents Award for Conservation in 2006. He is currently editor-in-chief of Living Bird, the flagship publication of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Tim's lifelong interest in wilderness exploration has taken him twice to northern Greenland, where he made two open-boat voyages up the coast to study nesting seabirds and falcons, and to the hinterlands of Iceland, where he climbed lofty cliffs to learn more about the spectacular Gyrfalcon, the world's largest falcon. In addition to his latest book, Imperial Dreams, Tim is the author of Falcon Fever, The Grail Bird, Parts Unknown, and Wild Bird Photography.
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