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IVORY-BILLS  LiVE???!  ...

=> THE blog devoted to news and commentary on the most iconic bird in American ornithology, the Ivory-billed Woodpecker (IBWO)... and... sometimes other schtuff.
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"....The truth is out there."

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Wednesday, October 05, 2005

 

-- Of Searches and Roosts --

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"The daily activities of the woodpeckers [IBWOs] during the non-breeding season follow a definite pattern. Beginning about sunrise, they feed and move actively during the early morning; they are quiet during the middle of the day, feed again in late afternoon, and then end the day by going to roost about dusk. Ivory-bills roost singly in holes, and very frequently use the same hole night after night."

That's in part what James Tanner concluded about Ivory-bill daily behavior from observations of his Singer Tract sample. Clearly, the best possibility for a good photo or video during the winter months would come by finding a roost hole for an individual. Easier said than done. Again, according to Tanner, roost-holes typically "were from forty to fifty feet from the ground... did not face in any particular direction and were not located for protection from rain or wind." Roost-holes could appear as freshly-drilled or olden holes. Only size and shape (roughly oval) gives any hint at all to a possible active hole and in an area as vast as the Big Woods that's not much to go on.
One search technique involves lining up a string of observers 50-100 yards apart along an imaginary line bisecting some large general area of interest about 45 mins. before dusk and letting them sit/stand silently watching for birds returning overhead from either direction back to a roost area wherever that may be; the direction any birds come from obviously indicating a potential feeding area and the direction they are flying toward representing a roost area. And then follow up the next day with that piece of information in mind. If no birds-of-interest are observed then the next evening attempt to form a new line bisecting and running perpendicular to the first night's line to catch birds that flew perpendicular to, instead of across, the first night's string of watchers; again all this is easier said-than-done in deep woods/swamp... if it was easy we wouldn't be here conjecturing about it!
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