The Cornell Lab of Ornithology has quietly ended its five-year search for the Ivory-billed Woodpecker.

The Ivory-billed was the largest woodpecker in North America, and was last seen and recorded in the 1930s, leading experts to believe the species had gone extinct. But, from time to time, there were reports from Cuba and the swamps of the American southeast that a survivor had been spotted. Many of the reports were from birders considered reliable.

Then, in 2005, there was a flurry of reports from Arkansas, and the hunt was on. Scientists and volunteers scoured the swamps. Remote controlled cameras were mounted hoping to catch a glimpse. Even NASA got into it. It made the network news.

But they came up empty. And so this most recent search, that started out with such a bang, ended with a whimper.

The door is being kept open, if just a crack. They’re ready to go again should another credible rport surface somewhere.