Wow!! I birded the White and Cache refuges a few times when I was teaching
at the University of Arkansas. Best done by canoe or, in Arkansas, a john
boat. It's a nice place. Big cypresses and intemperate cottonmouths. (One
chased me clear across a creek once.) As chair of the Arkansas Sierra Club,
I was also involved in a lengthy (and ongoing) fight to keep the beavers in
the Corps of Engineers from channelizing the White River within the refuge
for barge traffic. This finding will likely slow the Corps down.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Al Merritt" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Thursday, April 28, 2005 9:39 AM
Subject: [VTBIRD] IVORY-BILLED
> Subject: Fw: The bird is out of the bag (Ivory-billed sighted in Arkansas)
> Hi all,
> 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,
> 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,
> fortunately for Audubon have already been designated an Important Bird
> (White-Lower Cache Rivers IBA). Finding this bird automatically makes
> a GLOBAL IBA.
> I just found out about this yesterday and facts have been coming in in
> 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
> Science Magazine) will make the announcement. Interestingly, there will
> 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
> 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
> 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.