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Ghost Bird (2009)

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Ghost Bird is a non-fiction feature about a small town in Arkansas, an extinct giant woodpecker and everybody looking for the Holy Grail of birding - the Ivory-billed woodpecker. Following ... See full summary »






Cast overview, first billed only:
Katie Jacques ...
Herself - General Manager, The Brinkley Argus
Sandra Kemmer ...
Herself - Executive Director, Brinkley Chamber of Commerce
Billy Clay ...
Himself - Mayor of Brinkley
Ronnie Steinbeck ...
Himself - Hunting & Birding Guide
Paul Swenby ...
Himself - Colorado Birders
Rose Swenby ...
Herself - Colorado Birders
Gene DePriest ...
Himself - Gene's Bar-B-Que
Penny Childs ...
Herself - Penny's Family Hair Care
Eugene Dover ...
Himself - Rice Farmer
David Luneau ...
Himself - Associate Professor, University of Arkansas Little Rock
John Fitzpatrick ...
Himself - Director, Cornell Lab of Ornithology (archive footage) (as Dr. John Fitzpatrick)
Mike Mills ...
Himself - Arkansas River Guide
Nancy Tanner ...
Herself - Wife of Ornithologist Jim Tanner
David Allen Sibley ...
Himself - Bird Guide Author & Illustrator (as David Sibley)
Jerome Jackson ...
Himself - World's Foremost Ivory-Bill Biologist (as Dr. Jerome Jackson)


Ghost Bird is a non-fiction feature about a small town in Arkansas, an extinct giant woodpecker and everybody looking for the Holy Grail of birding - the Ivory-billed woodpecker. Following numerous sightings and its widely announced rediscovery in 2005, the world's best birders have been unable to locate even one "Lord God Bird" after over three years of intensive searching. Ghost Bird examines the meaning of hope, faith and the limits of certainty in the quest to resurrect this lost species...unless, like the Holy Grail itself, the Ivory-bill remains forever out of reach. Written by 2007©small change productions

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Got pecker?





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Release Date:

6 May 2009 (USA)  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

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Technical Specs



Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?


Thomas Jacques: There was a small garment factory here until just about a year ago. They made shirts for Wal-Mart. I can't exactly trace where those particular jobs went to, but you, I think you can assume they went to a place where they could be made even more cheaply than they could in the American South.
Thomas Jacques: That's what our draw has been, you know - leave the North and come to us. We'll work for dirt. And we've found out people in other places will work for much less dirt.
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Surfin' Bird
Al Frazier (as Al Frazer) and Carl White and John Harris and Turner Wilson Jr. (as Turner Jr. Wilson)
Used by permission of Beechwood Music Corporation
Performed by Sha-Na-Na (as Sha Na Na)
Used under License from Dominion Entertainment, Inc.
a K-tel Company
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User Reviews

Nor Really About a Bird
27 July 2011 | by See all my reviews

Contrary to earlier comments the subject of this documentary is -not really- a rare woodpecker. The bird is merely the conduit for a documentary about much stranger animals: people. It's about how a Mayberry-like community in the deep American South dealt with a brief spotlight of fame when the bird is spotted in its vicinity. It's about excited ornithologists and amateur bird-watchers. It's about the media hungry for feel-good stories amidst a swamp of feel-bad daily news.

Yes, if you're a bird watcher you'll certainly enjoy this doc. But if you could not care less about birds you'll nevertheless be entertained by the portrayal of people's reactions to this spotting, as it's just barely this side of being a bit snarky.

One technical criticism: the audio design is rather poor. For example, the stints of background music become unnerving because they often overwhelms the dialog and is often just distractive noise. Very annoying. But for the poor audio design I would have given this a 7.

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