Photographed by Bette Jackson
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Hi, I'm Dr. Jerry Jackson, out with the wild things. The crow-sized ivory-billed woodpecker lived only in the southeastern United States and Cuba, but its three inch long ivory-colored bill and the red and black crest of male ivory bills were valuable trade items outside this range. Its bill was used in crowns worn by Native Americans in Canada and has been found in Native American graves in Colorado and other states. In the southeast, scalps and skins of ivory bills decorated medicine bundles and in the Great Plains, scalps and bills of male ivory bills adorned Native American war pipes. Yes, I said war pipes. Structure of Native American pipes varied with use. The stem of a peace pipe was round in cross-section; that of a war pipe was flattened. Perhaps the red crest of the male against black feathers of the crown of the bird was symbolic of scalping. Killing of an ivory bill was difficult until Europeans provided Native Americans with guns. With guns, however, killing the birds was easy and both Native Americans and others with guns contributed to the bird’s rapid decline.'With the Wild Things' is produced at the Whitaker Center in the College of Arts and Sciences at Florida Gulf Coast University. For 'The Wild Things', I'm Dr. Jerry Jackson.