Skip to comments.Birders Find No New Evidence of Woodpecker (Public Access Can't Be Denied)
Posted on 05/22/2006 6:35:26 AM PDT by girlangler
Birders Find No New Evidence of Woodpecker
By ANNIE BERGMAN Associated Press Writer © 2006 The Associated Press
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. With news Thursday that search teams had found no new confirmation of the ivory-billed woodpecker's existence in the swamps of eastern Arkansas, wildlife managers said there was no longer a reason to limit public access to the region.
"Based on the information coming from the search and research that we have done, I feel there is no need any longer to limit public use within this area," said Dennis Widner, manager of the Cache River Wildlife Management Area where the bird was first spotted in 2004.
While the searchers are disappointed with the lack of evidence of the bird's presence, it "doesn't mean the bird's not there," said Ron Rohrbaugh of the Cornell University Lab of Ornithology in Ithaca, N.Y.
"Certainly we're somewhat disappointed," Rohrbaugh said. "We've had enough of these tantalizing sounds and we still have a lot of hope that there might be a pair, especially in the White River area."
Cornell researchers supported the decision to reopen the wildlife refuge to general use. If new evidence is discovered, however, state and federal agencies can reimpose restrictions on access, Widner said.
But reopening the area to the public won't dissuade birders from trying to catch a glimpse of the elusive bird, Widner said. Instead, he said, birders will continue searching with the hope they will be able to provide proof that the bird lives.
"For several years there will be a scurry of activity as they try to get that photo," Widner said.
And birders won't have to worry about more hunters and fishermen crowding the refuge either, said Keith Stephens, a spokesman for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. The area is too dense for most hunters and too shallow for fishermen, he said.
More than 100 volunteers and full-time researchers went through the area over the winter but failed to find additional strong evidence of the bird's existence in their primary search area.
The National Audubon Society said they would continue to support search efforts for at least one more year. "The big woods was recognized as an important bird area many years before the rediscovery of the ivory-billed woodpecker," said Dan Scheiman of Audubon Arkansas.
Jon Andrew, the recovery team leader with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, said the search will continue next year across the Southeast. Paid and unpaid searchers would look for evidence of the bird in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, South Carolina and Texas as well as Arkansas, Andrew said.
Researchers believe they have captured audio recordings of the rare bird _ accompanying a brief, grainy videotape of what is believed to be an ivory-billed woodpecker.
One volunteer searcher and three members of the public have reported seeing the bird, but none of the full-time researchers has sighted it, said Martjan Lammertink, also of Cornell. Lammertink said in all four cases, the birds sighted had large amounts of white feathers on the lower halves of the wings _ consistent with an ivory-bill.
However, Lammertink said members of the team "have heard knocks, calls. We don't have an existing recording of an ivory-billed so we have to make extrapolations from other recordings," he said. "It's a complicated process."
Until Sparling's reported sighting Feb. 11, 2004, the last known sighting of the bird was in north Louisiana in 1944.
For residents of Brinkley, the town that became a hub for birders because it sits near the Cache and White rivers halfway between Little Rock and Memphis, Tenn., how the news will effect their home remains to be seen.
Sandra Kemmer, the executive director of the Brinkley Chamber of Commerce, said residents haven't been affected by skeptics before, and the lack of evidence hasn't shaken the town's confidence that the bird lives in their woods.
"We're still excited," Kemmer said. "There are people that are still coming because word got out because of how awesome it is down here. People are coming to see what we have already _ the other species of woodpeckers and the thousand-year-old cypress trees."
That's a relief, especially considering hunters' money was used to purchase the wildlife refuges in this country.
Birders, AR activists, Sierra Clubbers, none of these contribute a dime to the purchase and maintenance of these PUBLIC lands. Grrrrrrrrrr
Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence............
From another News source:
No Sign of Woodpecker
Searchers were unable, this week to spot any sign of the ivory-billed woodpecker discovered last year in a remote Arkansas area. Speculation about the fate of the bird, perhaps the last example of a species thought to be extinct was ended this afternoon.
As soon as the first reports of the ivory-billed woodpecker came in, it was shot by a guy living in a shack. When interviewed, he said, "I always did want to see what one a' them things tasted like.
Travis "Toad" McAlester, who has lived on the border of this wilderness area, is an avid hunter, and has a life-long dream of dining on unusual animals. "Dang," he continued, "if it didn't taste just like them spotted owls I et up last summer. Waste of my damn time."
Heck, we all kow what has happened here..........its a bg conspiracy by the timber interests. They paid a few crackers to go in there with their shotguns and kill all peckerwoods so they can be allowed to come in and clear cut the forest. Those 1000 yr old cypresses will make a lot of garden mulch.
If the Ivory Bill likes the same habitat that the Pileated Woodpecker likes, they should look in SE Tennessee. Pileated Woodpeckers are thick around here. I see them every day.
Thanks for the ping.
unknown unknowns or known unknowns or known knowns
"Reports that say something hasn't happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know,"
"We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know.
But there are also unknown unknowns -- the ones we don't know we don't know."
I have seen Pileated on my land....and heard them. I will be listening for the Ivory Bill! Not far from Louisanna here in E TX.
As soon as I get in the area, I'm going to rush right over there and catch some nice fish in that shallow water. Maybe I'll catch a few cottonmouths too.
I see a lot of the Pileated peckers too where I am (upper east TN/Ky border. I saw one yesterday.
The neat thing is I have an upper deck on my house and so when on the deck I am level with the tree tops. I have huge trees in my yard.
So it is a neat place for bird watching.
Watch out billhilly, cottonmouths are probably endangered or threatened species in that area.
Rattlesnakes and copperheads are endangered (or threatened, species can't remember) here in Tennessee, so it's illegal to kill them (although this law is loosely enforced). And we have plenty sightings of these critters.
A few years ago I received a news release from the state wildlife agency and it had info about a man who was arrested for poaching bears. Agency officials also found more than 100 poisonous snakes in his freezer.
I was perplexed -- why would anybody keep all those snakes in the freezer. So I called the agency and was told the man was very "religious."
Turns out he was one of those preachers at these snake handling churches we have up here (yes, they are all over east TN and southerneastern KY). He would just thaw his out and shake 'em around in front of his flock of worshipers. A cheater, so to speak ;)This is a true story.
What are some of the birds you attract to your yard? I have a lot of them too, and put out feeders so I can enjoy them.
There are several more birds which appear here at different times of year.
I'm an amateur bird watcher, really got interested in watching them last June when I moved here. My top deck of my house is in the treetops and being out there is like being in their livingroom.
I don't know what kinds I have, I haven't looked them up. However, I do see a lot of hummingbirds (I have four feeders) and plant flowers that attract them. I have a pair of HUGE woodpeckers with red on their heads and they are black/grey (I am assuming they are Pileated).
I have lots of robins, bluejays, and I could hold a governor's dove hunt here, right at the deer corn feeder:)
Lots of little finches and crows, several hawks, and some big barren owls.
Last Summer I'd sit with my dog Lucy out on that deck in the darkness, and the owls would fly right up to the deck and perch in a tree. Once, it was really quiet and dark, and suddenly a huge WHOOOOO right up close.
Scared me and Lucy so bad we both jumped up.
I planted a mini food plot also out at the deer feeder, and another open area outside the woods, where the deer also feed and I can watch them through the livingroom windows.
Since I keep corn out there there are a lot of birds. I looked out the window once and my cat was lurking behind a tree waiting on a victim, and suddenly a deer comes in to feed.
My tomcat came walking out in front of the deer, like he was bad or something,then the deer started stomping one hoof on the ground.
The cat skedadled.
Wish I'd had a video camera going.
Sounds similar to where we're are. We live on the Cumberland Plateau about 30 miles due north of 'Nooga. I included a small deck off of my master bath, also "in the treetops". I put up a couple of feeders mid-ways up in the tree next to the house and I get a much wider variety of visitors here than at the lower feeders, including a couple of different small woodpeckers.
That sounds so neat. As a lifetime hunter, who lost his shooting eye, I find an enormous amount of pleasure in watching the birds and animals, as I did when hunting.
We also have a cat who fancies herself a hunter. A couple of days ago I heard a bird screeching, and I ran and saw a female cardinal in her mouth. I raced toward her, yelling for her to release the bird but she just ran around the neighbors fence with the bird screeching. A big bluejay got involved, and if you have never seen them attack a predator, you would be amazed. A moment l;ater, my cat was sitting on the ground peering up at the neighbors garden house, where the cardinal was sitting on the roof.
Yesterday I stopped her from tormenting a chipmunk. she was not happy with me when the chipmunk ran away to freedom.
My cat Tsali, named for the Cherokee Indian who ran into the Smokies and is the father of the Cherokees in the reservation here in the Smokies (the rest were marched to Oklahoma)thinks he is a cougar.
He is great at keeping the field mice at bay. He also has his share of chipmunk kills in his surrounding territory.
Lucy (bird dog) drug a possum up on the deck a few days ago. I thought it was dead, got her away from it, then looked out the window and the thing looked around and sauntered off (guess that's what they mean by playing possum).
Yes big bluejays are fierce. And what we call catbirds, they'll swoop down and attack a cat -- its hilarious to watch.
Peck a cat right on the head.
Tsali has a fragile ego to start with. It's hard coming down from being a cougar to a danged BIRD pecking the crap out of you. I've had some fun watching him adjust to his new home in the woods (we moved from a house in town). Tsali is nine years old, a big, neutered fat cat.
You'll never convince that old boy he aint no cougar :)
You need to put a bell on your cat. It's more sporting that way.
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