The Ivory-Billed Woodpecker

The Ivory-Billed Woodpecker
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 3 to 4
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   7.55

     challenging words:    surprising, hundred, last, male, video, mostly, aside, eastern, kinds, above, since, build, become, world, gone, also
     content words:    North America, River National Wildlife Refuge, Cache River National Wildlife Refuge, Cache River Refuge

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The Ivory-Billed Woodpecker
By Cindy Grigg

1     In the last one hundred years, six kinds of birds have disappeared from North America. They became extinct. This means that they are gone forever, like the dinosaurs. But in February 2004, one bird that was thought to be extinct was seen again. On the Cache (cash) River National Wildlife Refuge in eastern Arkansas, a male ivory-billed woodpecker was seen and recorded with a video camera. The ivory-billed woodpecker, pictured above, has been seen at least seven times since then. It was a very surprising, or startling, discovery. Usually when an animal is thought to be extinct, it is never seen again. No ivory-billed woodpeckers had been seen since 1944 - sixty years ago!
2     The ivory-billed woodpecker is the second-largest woodpecker in the world. It measures about 20 inches tall. The ivory-billed woodpecker needs big forests with old trees to find the right kind of food. It eats insects from old trees. It also likes swampy areas. Where an animal lives and what it needs to live is called its habitat. The habitat for the ivory-billed has mostly disappeared. Most of the old trees have been cut down, and swampy land has been drained and used for farming or to build houses for people.
3     Some people care about keeping lands set aside for animal habitats. These people don't want any more animals to become extinct. The Cache River National Wildlife Refuge was started in 1986. It is land that has been bought and set aside to be a safe place for animals to live. Not only the ivory-billed, but also many other birds and mammals live in the Cache River Refuge. Seeing the ivory-billed woodpecker again gives people new hope that protecting habitats for animals will save more animals from becoming extinct.

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