JULY 10, 2019
University of North Texas Ph.D. candidate, Amy Wynia, traveled more than 6,000 miles to Navarino Island in southern-most Chile to explore the forests in search of the Magellanic Woodpecker (Campephilus magellanicus), the largest woodpecker in South America. While Wynia went to the ends of the earth to collect information for her Ph.D. dissertation, she also went because she really loves woodpeckers.
"The first time I actually held a woodpecker… that moment of me connecting with that bird in my hand and feeling those stiff tail feathers, it really stuck with me," said Wynia, a student and researcher in UNT's Sub-Antarctic Biocultural Conservation Program. "I've captured lots of birds in my time but the woodpecker was one bird that just really impressed me."
Less than 700 miles north of Antarctica, Wynia spent some of her days attempting to detect, capture and band the Campephilus magellanicus to study the bird population. She captured 52 woodpeckers in her time there but said it wasn't easy.
"We use large, special nets that are specifically designed to safely and humanely capture birds. But, these birds have very sharp bills and claws designed to rend and tear bark. And, as the birds and banding work is too delicate to wear gloves, I often went home bleeding," she said.