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Old Wednesday 18th May 2005, 23:10   #1
KC Foggin
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Ivory-billed Woodpecker (formerly updates)

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has launched a new website for
Ivory-billed woodpecker updates: http://www.fws.gov/ivorybill/

"This site will be updated regularly to include weekly updates of recovery activities and the latest recovery team information as it is developed. Inquiries should be referred to this site."
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Old Thursday 19th May 2005, 00:35   #2
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Thanks for this, KC. Wonder if we should make this a sticky so it won't get buried in all the other Ivory-billed threads?
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Old Thursday 19th May 2005, 18:26   #3
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I went to that website and was glad to see they have added another 2000+ acres to the Tensas Refuge in Louisiana. Every addition helps. This refuge encompasses the old Singer Tract, where the IBW was sighted in '44. About 150 miles from the recent Arkansas sightings.

That's the ticket. Expand the refuges and try to connect as well as possible the fragmented corridors in Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, on up into Tennessee and SE Missouri. Don't forget Mississippi, there is viable IBW habitat there, and I wouldn't be surprised to hear that the next confirmed sighting comes from there.

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Old Saturday 21st May 2005, 13:24   #4
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Hear, hear, in 1987 Jackson had an interesting encounter in the Yazoo Basin when he played ivory-bill sounds. A bird flew in from a considerable distance answering the recording with virtually identical sounds. It could have been a blue jay, but Jackson heard blue jays answering the recording and said he could readily tell the difference. This bird was quite wary and Jackson didn't get with 100 yards of it.

Please note: I am NOT advocating the use of sound to lure ivory-bills. It is illegal in the White/Cache system.
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Old Saturday 21st May 2005, 14:01   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fangsheath
Hear, hear, in 1987 Jackson had an interesting encounter in the Yazoo Basin when he played ivory-bill sounds. A bird flew in from a considerable distance answering the recording with virtually identical sounds. It could have been a blue jay, but Jackson heard blue jays answering the recording and said he could readily tell the difference. This bird was quite wary and Jackson didn't get with 100 yards of it.

Please note: I am NOT advocating the use of sound to lure ivory-bills. It is illegal in the White/Cache system.
The same forest where Jackson and one of his students heard the possible IBW call was later cut for timber.
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Old Saturday 21st May 2005, 14:08   #6
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I am also hearing that the state of Louisiana is planning on logging parts of the Pearl River area very close to or where Kullivan had the very credible '99 IBW sighting.

If true, this is sickening.
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Old Monday 23rd May 2005, 11:32   #7
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The Ivory billed is confirmed as being alive
see the BBC (Auntie beeb can be relied on!)
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/4493825.stm
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Old Thursday 26th May 2005, 04:01   #8
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report from White River NWR

I had never been in this area before, the river system surprised me, I was expecting to find a lazy, meandering river surrounded by cypress/tupelo swamp. Instead I found a powerful river with steep cutbanks, much like the Atchafalaya in Louisiana. The surrounding floodplain is not dominated by cypress swamp, but is overwhelmingly bottomland hardwood forest. I don't know what led Jackson to dismiss this area as potential ivory-bill habitat, there is not much sweet gum here, but there are many large Nuttall and overcup oaks and some huge sycamores. There are also some beautiful big cypress trees along sloughs, I saw trees 7-8 feet in diameter. Covered a lot of ground, spent many hours in some of the more remote parts of the refuge, saw a lot of scaled trees but nothing that I could say definitely wasn't the work of pileateds. Didn't see anything that looked like the scaling Luneau photographed, which tells me that that is indeed rare and probably ivory-bill work.

Saw few birders, lots of fishermen. The refuge seems to be heavily used by hunters and fishermen. ATV trails are common. I swung up to the Cache River NWR/Dagmar WMA area, where Elvis was seen, just briefly, long enough to confirm that the forest there is generally less mature than that to the south and much more fragmented.

I feel certain that a small breeding population of ivory-bills lives in White River NWR and adjacent lands. There are many thousands of acres of unbroken mature forest here. It is easy for the birds to escape detection because the areas of heavy human activity are very predictable. It is hard enough to see a black bear; I have seen an estimate that there is one per 300 acres on parts of the refuge.

There is every reason to hope that ivory-bills will persist and increase in the area. But they will be very difficult to census and study.
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Old Thursday 26th May 2005, 14:40   #9
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Thanks for the report, and sure hope you're right about the "persist and increase."

How did you get around up there? Did you mainly walk the bottomlands or did you get around the bayous via canoe?

By the way, I read elsewhere that there was a credible sighting of IBWO back in '86 within 50 miles of where Elvis was spotted, but there was a very limited followup search conducted.

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Old Thursday 26th May 2005, 15:33   #10
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Water levels were pretty low when I was there, I had no difficulty walking the floodplain, although there were certainly muddy spots and I had to cross a slough on a fallen log at one point. In many of the areas I saw, the water would have to rise at least 10 feet to inundate the forest floor (which I have no doubt it does, particularly in the winter). The refuge roads are well-maintained and many areas are penetrated by them. ATV trails are everywhere. It is clear that this refuge has been heavily utilized by hunters and fishermen for many years. The refuge caters to them, making habitat modifications to help waterfowl and enhance fishing. If, as I believe, there are ivory-bills breeding here, I think it makes the case that the birds can co-exist with such activities, provided there is a large, continuous, mature forest for them to stretch their wings in.

And yes, there are cottonmouths.
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Old Thursday 26th May 2005, 23:43   #11
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Well I think some areas cater more than others. Federal wildlife refuges seem to be more limiting generally than state wildlife management areas.

I stopped just briefly at Dagmar WMA, passed over Bayou DeView but didn't stop there. That was the last day I was in Arkansas and I didn't linger in that area. To me, White River NWR was more impressive, yet I didn't think it had anything, either in terms of forest quality or land area, that doesn't exist in Louisiana. I was reminded of that a few days before, when I had been through central Louisiana and drove through the Old River/Simmesport area, exiting the Basin at Palmetto.
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Old Friday 27th May 2005, 00:40   #12
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State Wildlife Management Areas are NOT intended as wildlife refuges - they are intended to provide facilities for research, education, recreation and wildlife management which includes hunting and fishing. Going back to the previous question, where do you think most of the money for wildlife management - including Texas many birding opportunities, much of Texas research funds and many of Texas birding publications comes from? It sure AIN'T birders!

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Old Friday 27th May 2005, 01:32   #13
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I think much of it comes from revenue generated by hunting and fishing. I also think, as I indicated before, that hunters and fishermen have, directly or indirectly, saved millions of acres of wildlife habitat in the U.S. I also happen to think that sustainable use has provided economic incentives all over this planet for the perservation of species and habitat.

Whatever wildlife management areas are intended for, they are de facto refuges by my definition, as are private hunting leases. Anything that preserves habitat in something approaching natural condition is a refuge in my book. The ivory-bills do not understand the boundaries as long as their needs are met.
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Old Friday 27th May 2005, 13:22   #14
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For many however, the term refuge brings to mind no take at all - no hunting, collecting, or any similar activity - which in the long run works against diversity but that is another matter.
The definition you use, yes WMA would fit.

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Old Friday 27th May 2005, 16:24   #15
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Perhaps you can clear up some confusion I have on these photos. I assume this is one of the photos you're referring to:

http://www.americanbirding.org/pubs/birding/archives/vol33no6p514to522.pdf#search='ivorybill%20Lowery%2 01971'

I have seen articles that suggest that Fielding Lewis took the photos, but Jackson makes reference to a man called the "Chief." He also says that a student of Lowery's saw other photos and that in some of them the bird has some motion blur. Were the photos taken outside the floodway, as Jackson suggests?
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Old Friday 27th May 2005, 16:31   #16
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Hmmm, the link doesn't seem to have worked. Let's try this:

ivory-bill article
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Old Friday 27th May 2005, 18:46   #17
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Well I did manage to see one turkey in White River NWR, I was hoping to get a glimpse of a bear, but didn't see so much as a track. I didn't realistically expect to see an ivory-bill. I wanted to cover a lot of ground as quickly as possible.

I also confirmed that beaver sign is readily distinguishable from woodpecker sign. But it can be surprisingly high on a tree in these big floodplains!
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Old Saturday 28th May 2005, 00:42   #18
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A note to people with digital cameras trying to get evidence of ivory-bills - don't underestimate the microphone. Many digital still cameras have excellent microphones. I gave mine a try recording some pileated sounds in White River NWR. It did amazingly well.
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Old Monday 30th May 2005, 19:56   #19
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The website below has a letter that was published in the Brinkley Argus under the title "Area must be cautious of federal plans" by guest columnist Jim Beers.


http://www.allianceforamerica.org/bb...pic.php?t=6571
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Old Monday 30th May 2005, 21:47   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aubrey
The website below has a letter that was published in the Brinkley Argus under the title "Area must be cautious of federal plans" by guest columnist Jim Beers.


http://www.allianceforamerica.org/bb...pic.php?t=6571
Good laugh not much else. Certainly, he does have some points, but much of it is rambling in my opinion (and I did read a few other things he wrote, so this seem to be his way of doing it. At least he isn't hiding his agenda).

I have little respect for some of the people I would classify as "enviromental extremists" (people that often do more damage than good in their mistaken attempts of conservation), but people that fall in the very opposite side of spectrum (as Jim Beers, if I'm not mistaken) are certainly no better. In the end, I do hope people with a minimum of common sense will play the main role in the conservation of the amazing Ivory-billed Woodpecker - rather than extremists fools from either side of the spectrum.
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Old Tuesday 31st May 2005, 16:39   #21
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Hi all - first time posting on here.

I have just returned from a 3 day weekend trip to Arkansas. I will be writing up another report for my website soon but here are some of the details:
I spent 2 days searching in the White River NWR and 1 day in the Dagmar WMA. Both areas were very impressive however as was pointed out earlier in this thread, the White River is the real deal. I had a GPS with me and was able to get off the ATV trails once I was far enough away from the road. There are mature trees throughout the area, many at 4 feet in diameter. I observed bark-scaling on so many trees that I began to wonder if it was Pileateds that were responsible; I will post the pictures I took as soon as I can. No Ivorybills were seen or heard in the White River in my 2 days of searching.
The Dagmar WMA is not as extensive but the trees I observed in the northern part of the area were quite old. At one point, while hearing Blue Jays and Nuthatches simultaneously, I heard some calling that I had not heard before that resembled the Ivorybill call. I could describe it as a repetitive tooting of a horn. I heard it for 3 minutes in an area with bark scaling. I am unsure what it was and could not locate it with the heavy foliage. Nevertheless, the area could (and probably is) supporting 1 or 2 pairs of IBWs.
A few other thoughts...we must thank the hunters. I used to look differently upon them but really they have saved the habitat. If it weren't for them, not even half of the NWRs would exist. We should continue to cooperate and we'll both win.
Now, someone get a report back from the crew in the Atchafalaya basin!

For those interested in more reading, I have maintained an Ivorybill site (very basic) since searching the Pearl in 2001: http://www.geocities.com/miami13_dan/Ivorybill.html
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Old Tuesday 31st May 2005, 18:22   #22
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I saw a lot of bark scaling too, but almost invariably associated with deep excavation that looked very pileated-ish. I saw nothing that closely resembled David Luneau's photos, which still strike me as highly unusual. I strongly suspect that ivory-bills do much less bark scaling in the warm season, just as pileateds are known to switch to more fruits and less beetle larvae in the summer.

I saw remarkably few birders weekend before last, particularly in the more remote parts of White River NWR. Did you encounter many?
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Old Tuesday 31st May 2005, 21:20   #23
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Re:

I saw remarkably few birders weekend before last, particularly in the more remote parts of White River NWR. Did you encounter many?[/quote]

I didn't see a single birder out there. Only the odd fisherman. Perhaps it was the weather being hotter and the bugs but I still expected to see more people out.
Luneau mentioned in another article that he determined some scaling he saw to be Beaver-scaling. When a tree is completely knawed down, I usually assume it's a beaver but Luneau's photo is strange.
What I saw in terms of scaling was nothing like that photo - simply the bark at been removed and some horizontal gauges were visible. I will get those pictures done soon and put them up on the website. On only one occasion did I see the scaling present with Pileated-type deep holes.
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Old Wednesday 1st June 2005, 00:48   #24
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I have seen quite a lot of beaver sign, it is easily recognizable with experience. Beavers' incisors leave double-gouges, so to speak, that run at many different angles. I saw one tree up there that had beaver sign about 15 feet up.

When I came back and looked at Luneau's photos again, I really regretted not taking any measurements on scaling. I have very good photos of what are almost certainly woodpecker gouges, but no measurements. The gouges in David's photos definitely look like they were made by a woodpecker, but appear wider than anything I saw. Whatever made them came back to the very same tree within 2 weeks after the first photo was taken, and back again subsequently.
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Old Wednesday 1st June 2005, 01:37   #25
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IBW v. Imperial

Quote:
Originally Posted by KCFoggin
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has launched a new website for
Ivory-billed woodpecker updates: http://www.fws.gov/ivorybill/

"This site will be updated regularly to include weekly updates of recovery activities and the latest recovery team information as it is developed. Inquiries should be referred to this site."
From reading some descriptions it appears that the sitings may be imperial woodpeckers as well as or instead of ibw. Imperials appear to my untrained eye to almost exactly match ibw in field markings with the exception that when resting there will be two white triangles on the back instead of one. I think that it is possible that there have been found two species that haven't been confirmed as sited since the 50's.
Jesse Gilsdorf
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