Trade Value of the Beak of the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker
Trade Value of the Beak of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker
In the Condor for July, 1939 (p. 164) A. M. Bailey notes the finding of a beak of an Ivory-billed Woodpecker (Campephilus principalis) in an Indian grave in Colorado and correctly assumes that it must have been made available through trade channels. It is of interest to recall the probably basic statement on this subject by Mark Catesby (Nat. Hist. Carolina, etc., 1791, 1:16: the original edition was published from 1731 to 1743). He wrote: “The bills of these birds are much valued by the Canada Indians, who make coronets of them for their Princes and great warriors . . . The Northern Indians, having none of these birds in their cold country, purchase them of the Southern people at the price of two, and sometimes three buck-skins a bill.” Buffon and others have drawn upon this statement for their references to the subject.
W. L. Mcatee
Wildlife Service, Washington, D.C., October 22, 1941