Dead Bird Flying
Upon hearing reports of his own demise, Mark Twain famously retorted that rumors of his death had been greatly exaggerated. The same could be said of the golden-crowned manakin, a small Brazilian bird thought to have gone extinct almost a half-century ago but recently rediscovered in the Amazon rainforest. The bird was found by German ornithologist Helmut Sick in 1957. That was also the last year anyone ever saw a golden-crowned manakin, and the bird was eventually given up for dead — until two Brazilian scientists, Fabio Olmos and Jose Fernando Pacheco, found a single male member of the species last week. (Pacheco has a reputation for bringing back the dead, having previously rediscovered the kinglet cotinga, a bird that hadn’t been seen since the 19th century.) Unfortunately, unlike in Twain’s case, rumors of the species’ demise were only slightly exaggerated; scientists fear that habitat destruction poses a major threat to the long-term survival of the bird.