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Monroe man on a mission to find critically endangered bird, the ivory-billed woodpecker

A Monroe man, Matt Courtman, is on a mission to find a critically endangered bird, the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker.

The Ivory-billed woodpecker is a crow-sized woodpecker. It is 21 inches in length and about 30 to 33 inches in wingspan. It is the third-largest woodpecker in the world.

Matt Courtman said, "The Ivorybill woodpecker is a magnificent bird."

Courtman was first introduced to birds in the second grade by his teacher, Ms. Roy Riser. At the young age of eight, he completed a university Ornithology class under his birding mentor, the late Dr. Tom Kee at what was then known as Northeast Louisiana University. He scored the highest grade on the bird identification final, a 48 out of 50.

Courtman became interested in Ivorybill Woodpeckers at eight years old when his Ivory-billed mentor, Dr. George Lowery, let him hold Ivorybill specimens at the LSU Museum of Natural Science

Courtman has since collected audio recordings of ivorybills in 2017 and 2018. He has also spotted the birds on two different occasions in 2019, one sighting being of a pair.

Courtman's sole occupation is documenting to help save the Ivorybill. He has created an independent, public organization, The Louisiana Wild, to help in his endeavor.

Courtman and his wife, Lauren, have created Mission Ivorybill to conduct a five-year, public search for the woodpecker, to foster public awareness of the Ivorybill, and to stop US Fish and Wildlife's proposal to declare the Ivorybill extinct.

The Louisiana Wilds is hosting a free presentation on the Ivorybill on Thursday, April 14 at 6:30 p.m. at Biedenharn Museum and Gardens in Monroe.

Courtman said, "Tensas River National Wildlife Refuge is where we are searching now, and that is the old home of the singer tracks. So, nothing would thrill us more than to get the perfect photo of the Ivorybill woodpecker."

For more information, contact Matt Courtman at