That's all folks -- UPDATE | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, May 18, 2006

That's all folks -- UPDATE

Posted By on Thu, May 18, 2006 at 11:02 AM

With the return of leaves, the official ivory-billed woodpecker search season is over in the Big Woods of Arkansas. Some hopeful signs were noted, but nothing definitive, and the work will continue.

UPDATE: Here's a report from Leslie Peacock, who listend in on the news conference: 

Cornell Lab of Ornithology researchers announced today that they no longer believe there is a resident pair of ivory-billed woodpeckers in the Bayou de View of the Cache River National Wildlife Refuge in Eastern Arkansas.

But Martjan Lammertink, a woodpecker specialist on the search team, said the seaon's four new possible sightings of the bird and the fact that a number of Cornell ornithologists heard a number of what they believed to be the bird's characteristic double knock sounds and kent calls suggested that a bird is still using the area.

"We still have a lot of hope there might be a pair in the White River area," where there are 150,000 acres of forest, search team director Ron Rohrbaugh said. "Just because we put in two field seasons [and didn't find its home] doesn't mean the bird is not there or we should have found it."

Three members of the public and an expert volunteer reported seeing birds with one field mark -- white on the trailing edges of the wings.

Rohrbaugh said Cornell, which spent $1 million on this year's search, will not return a crew to the Big Woods in fall, but will rely on its autonomous sound recording units, time-lapse video cameras and volunteer searchers.

The "managed access area" of the Bayou de View is open to the public as of today. Only a limited number of people, who had to get permits, were allowed in the bayou the past year to protect the bird.

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