||Tells the story of the ivory-billed woodpecker's extinction in the United States, describing the encounters between this species and humans, and discussing what these encounters have taught us about preserving endangered creatures. For thousands of years, the majestic Ivorybilled Woodpecker reigned over the dark emerald forests that once carpeted the bottomlands of America's broad southern rivers, as well as the red, rugged mountains of eastern Cuba, where it was called Carpintero real. A phantom bird, always more easily heard than seen, it had a giant, ivory-colored bill prized by Indians and whites alike. But even in the early 1800s, when John James Audubon captured the Ivory-bill's likeness in his ground-breaking book The Birds of America, this species was beginning to disappear. A century later, it was presumed extinct. What happened? The Ivory-bill's story sweeps through two hundred years of history, introducing artists, specimen collectors, lumber barons, plume hunters, and finally -- in Cornell's Arthur A. Allen and his young ornithology student James Tanner -- pioneering biologists who sought to uncover the mystery of birds by studying them alive in their habitats. Their quest to save the Ivory-bill was to culminate in one of the first great conservation showdowns. With lively prose, illuminating images, and meticulous research, Hoose explores the tragedy of extinction. He probes our evolving attitudes toward understanding species and protecting habitat, prompting Publitzer Prize-winning Harvard biologist E. O. Wilson to say: "This is a marvelous book for young and old alike ... a tribute to a legendary animal and the nobility in the human spirit."