Ron and Sarojam Makau are bird-watching friends of mine. They are avidbird watchers, who live (part-time) near Cabo Pulmo, BCS. They are both professors at UC Riverside in the Biology Dept. They just got back from the Copper Canyon trip. They had somefantastic news ... they are sure, absolutly sure, that the saw an Imperial Woodpecker (!) near Divisadero on the north rim of Copper Canyon.
I questioned them closely, but they were sure, based on the description in Peterson. Howell says that the bird is extinct and last sighting in 1956. Peterson says very rare but not extinct. They swear that they saw the female that has a very unusal reverse crest. They both are experienced birders and are biology professors at UC Riverside.
They have birded all over the world and are really good birders. I belive their sighting. They saw the bird about 30 ft up a pine tree, clinging to the trunk. They were about 50 to 60 feet away, with good light. They observed the bird for about 2 minutes, during that time the bird turned her head and the crest was seen at several angles, definitaly matched thedrawing in Peterson for the female. The bird flew off with slow heavywingbeats (descriped as Raven-like flight). No sounds were heard.
The sighting was about 0700 on the trail near the big hotel on the canyon rim. If they aren't mistaken (and I don't think they are) I'm going tos pend several days birding that area. Wow, to get a photo of a bird that is listed as extinct. I haven't been following reports, but have there been any othersightings of this bird? After Thanksgiving I'm crossing to the mainland and spending a week or so in that area trying to get a photo verification. I know that this is an unconfirmed and second-hand report, but I personaly know the reporters and belive their sighting. Any comments from the group?
It will be interesting to see the response to this sighting!