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Hunters helped save rare bird from extinction
Reuters via Yahoo News ^ | 12/13/2005 | Deborah Zabarenko

Posted on 12/13/2005 9:21:18 AM PST by Rio

A hunting lodge with antler chandeliers and stuffed ducks on the walls seems a strange place to celebrate the comeback of the ivory-billed woodpecker, but wildlife officials are doing exactly that.

They credit hunters in particular with helping bring the rare bird back from presumed extinction in the Big Woods section of Arkansas.

"The people of Arkansas, the hunting and fishing community, conserved these woods," Scott Simon of The Nature Conservancy told reporters on Monday at the Mallard Pointe Lodge, where a coalition of environmentalists, academics and wildlife officials rejoiced in woodpecker's return to the living.

Simon said hunters and others helped save the bird in large part by buying Duck Stamps, at $15 each. These stamps are not for postage, but pay for a federal migratory bird conservation fund, and eventually added up to $41 million to reclaim much of the habitat of the endangered woodpecker.

"The $41 million went into the land before the ivory bill showed up," Simon said.

The ivory-billed woodpecker was believed extinct for the last 60 years, and various reports of sightings of the big bird -- jet black and bright white with a red crest on the male -- were dismissed by professional ornithologists.

Their scepticism was warranted because of the destruction of the big old trees over much of the American southeast that began after the U.S. Civil War. The ivory bill's large size, with a body perhaps 20 inches (50 cm) long means it needs large trees to nest in. It is known to scale the bark off old, dying and dead trees to get at the cigar-sized grubs that live there.

550,000 ACRES OF FOREST

But that was before an amateur naturalist said he saw one while paddling in the Cache River National Wildlife Refuge in February 2004. When he brought two bird experts to the same spot, they saw it too. And when a professor captured the bird in flight in fuzzy but authentic video, an analysis of all the data pointed to the startling fact that the ivory bill was back.

The ivory bill's public rediscovery last April energized a massive search in eastern Arkansas. Starting in November, teams of paid experts and volunteers have been scouring the Big Woods for signs of the bird.

In this, too, hunters are allies, according to Scott Henderson, director of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.

"The deer hunter and the duck hunter out there are some of the best eyes and ears we've got," Henderson said. "We have 7,000 hunters in this same area for eight hours at a time or more in some cases."

Good observers are essential to catching a glimpse of the camera-shy ivory bill. So far, some 20,000 hours of searching by dozens of trained observers have failed to spot the bird. But that is understandable, given each woodpecker's presumed 12 mile (20 km) foraging range. Experts do not know how many ivory-billed woodpeckers might exist in this area.

The total search area in Arkansas takes in 550,000 acres (222,600 hectares) of forest and swamp. Since last year, searchers have covered about 160 square kilometers (62 square miles).

Henderson acknowledged that hunters were concerned at first that the urge to protect the woodpecker's habitat would limit access to hunting areas, but he said this has not happened.

Game officials want to avoid what Henderson called a "spotted owl situation" -- the clash of interests that occurred in the 1980s between wildlife preservationists and loggers in the U.S. northwest over protecting the small bird.


TOPICS: Miscellaneous; US: Arkansas
KEYWORDS: ecoping; endangered; hunters; hunting; ornithology; woodpecker
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1 posted on 12/13/2005 9:21:19 AM PST by Rio
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To: Rio

The Ivory billed woodpecker is known as the "God bird", bevcause those who see it say, "Oh, my God..". Hopefully someone will post some pics..


2 posted on 12/13/2005 9:28:38 AM PST by ken5050 (Ann Coulter needs to have children ASAP to pass on her gene pool....any volunteers?)
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To: ken5050

3 posted on 12/13/2005 9:31:10 AM PST by Slicksadick (Go out on a limb........Its where the fruit is.)
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To: Slicksadick

Thanks...it's spectacular..can you imagine being in the woods and seeing one..


4 posted on 12/13/2005 9:34:52 AM PST by ken5050 (Ann Coulter needs to have children ASAP to pass on her gene pool....any volunteers?)
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To: Rio

And how long before the enviralists screw the hunters by closing off access to the area?


5 posted on 12/13/2005 9:38:23 AM PST by Redcloak ("If you can't say something nice about someone, then you must be talking about Hillary Clinton.")
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To: Rio

The Common Ivory Skinned Pudwhacker

6 posted on 12/13/2005 9:43:20 AM PST by LexBaird ("I'm not questioning your patriotism, I'm answering your treason."--JennysCool)
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To: Rio

That is one good-looking bird!

Funny how it was extinct for so long...


7 posted on 12/13/2005 9:44:21 AM PST by Rio (Don't make me come over there....)
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To: Rio

That is one good-looking bird!

Funny how it was extinct for so long...


8 posted on 12/13/2005 9:44:21 AM PST by Rio (Don't make me come over there....)
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To: Rio

What surprised me about this article is that it recognized the vital role outdoorsmen play in conservation. I couldn't believe it was coming from Reuters.


9 posted on 12/13/2005 9:44:34 AM PST by Southside_Chicago_Republican (Just say "No" to Judy Baar Topinka)
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To: SJackson

Thought you might be interested in this thread on the outdoors, hunting, and conservation


10 posted on 12/13/2005 9:48:00 AM PST by indcons
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To: Rio

Hunters/Hunting Orgs. give more money for the conservation of wetlands, etc. then any other group out there. Evirowhackos included.


11 posted on 12/13/2005 9:51:55 AM PST by Puppage (You may disagree with what I have to say, but I shall defend to your death my right to say it)
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To: Rio

I wonder if PETA has just one story that even approaches the success of this program. This shows what rational, logical thought and techniques can accomplish. Meanwhile PETA is euthanizing dogs and protesting KFC.


12 posted on 12/13/2005 9:51:57 AM PST by Space Wrangler
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To: ken5050
I said the same thing the first time I saw a pileated woodpecker. That's one big bird!


13 posted on 12/13/2005 9:52:32 AM PST by Ladysmith ((NRA, SAS) Support Zien's PPA/CCW bill in Wisconsin.)
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To: Rio

Great news. What a handsome bird!


14 posted on 12/13/2005 9:52:35 AM PST by manwiththehands ("Have a RamaHanuKwanzMas" - Glenn Beck (And Merry Christmas!) (... and "Happy Holidays!"))
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To: Rio; Carry_Okie
various reports of sightings of the big bird -- jet black and bright white with a red crest on the male -- were dismissed by professional ornithologists.

Of course.

15 posted on 12/13/2005 9:55:03 AM PST by FOG724 (http://nationalgrange.org/legislation/phpBB2/index.php)
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To: Ladysmith

I have a pair in my backyard..the sound they make early in the morning is like a hammer...what a racket..


16 posted on 12/13/2005 9:55:30 AM PST by ken5050 (Ann Coulter needs to have children ASAP to pass on her gene pool....any volunteers?)
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To: Southside_Chicago_Republican

Here is a google search on the author:

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&q=Deborah+Zabarenko&btnG=Search


17 posted on 12/13/2005 9:55:45 AM PST by PeterPrinciple (Seeking the truth here folks.)
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To: HairOfTheDog

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1539599/posts?page=13#13


18 posted on 12/13/2005 9:57:49 AM PST by Calpernia (Breederville.com)
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To: Rio

I saw one in Stevenson, AL on a backwater of the Tennessee river in the spring of 1989. Everyone has told me I was wrong; it couldn't have been an ivory-bill.


19 posted on 12/13/2005 10:03:19 AM PST by Jemian (Santa is wearing desert camouflage and delivering freedom in Iraq. ~ Sgt. Joshua Howser)
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To: Rio

This is great news. So much for the hunters are bad theory. On another note: "cigar sized grubs"? YYUUUCCKKK!!!!! EEEWWWW!!!!


20 posted on 12/13/2005 10:14:32 AM PST by metmom (Welfare was never meant to be a career choice.)
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