Subject: Fw: The bird is out of the bag (Ivory-billed sighted in Arkansas)
Just got this note from a friend, who wishes to remain anonymous for now.
Apparently, several sightings this year of an Ivory-billed Woodpecker in
Arkansas have been confirmed (including video)! Read on...
Since tomorrow (4/28) morning (10:00 EST) is the official press release, and
rumor mill has already been grinding, I think it is okay to let the bird
out of the bag a bit early on some major Ornithological news...
An Ivory-billed Woodpecker has been found in Arkansas!!! No confirmed
sightings have occurred in the US since 1944, and the very last bird seen
alive in Cuba was in 1987. This is a confirmed (by the experts),
video-documented bird. Apparently TNC and the Cornell Lab of O have been
quietly searching for more birds after the failure of the Pearl River WMA,
LA search in 2002. Sightings occurred over the winter and more recently,
in the White River and Cache River NWRs. These two refuges are joined, and
fortunately for Audubon have already been designated an Important Bird Area
(White-Lower Cache Rivers IBA). Finding this bird automatically makes this
a GLOBAL IBA.
I just found out about this yesterday and facts have been coming in in bits
and pieces. I've already helped write a press release, and I anticipate a
flood of phone calls from reporters. USFWS (together with TNC, Cornell and
Science Magazine) will make the announcement. Interestingly, there will be
am 8.5 min report on NPR BEFORE the press conference. Not sure when, but
I'll probably have to wait for the archived version. Keep an ear on the
radio. Soon there will be a website www.ivorybilled.org with a map that
will allow people to look for the bird without plaguing it too much.
As far as I know, there is only one bird, but this does indicate that there
must have been at least a breeding pair not too long ago. There are no
longevity data for the species, but the Pileated Woodpecker lives for a max
of about 9 years. So it is doubtful this bird has been around for several
decades. And if one bird is found here, why not other birds in other
chuncks of bottomland forest along the MS River? It underscores the need
for habitat preservation. Personally, I don't hold much hope, but then
again I gave up the ship after the 2002 search.