Poet Laura McKee shared this song on Facebook yesterday, and I'm glad she did. Partly because it's a great song, and has encouraged me to seek out more from Stevens (I'd heard bits and bobs previously, but clearly not enough).
But partly because it also reminded me of the whole controversy over the existence or otherwise of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker, the species being referred to. It's the subject of an excellent book, The Grail Bird, by Tim Gallagher, one of the men who claimed to have rediscovered the bird in Arkansas some years ago. He's also written Imperial Dreams, an account of searching for the related Imperial Woodpecker in the Sierra Madre in Mexico. If anything it's even better than the first book.
It's still hard to come to any firm conclusion about whether the Ivory-billed still exists, but I went on a birding trip with Tim once, and have no doubts about his sincerity. Nor can I see what he would have to gain by making up the claims.
But anyway, enjoy the song, and enjoy the books if you get a chance.