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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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Saturday, November 05, 2005

 

-- A Little More History... --

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While awaiting for something historical to happen in AR. (or elsewhere) it may be of value to review past historical IBWO information. I particularly like reading Arthur Bent's old accounts of various bird species, and here's just a little of what he had to write about the Ivory-bill back around 1940:

"The large size and striking color pattern, the mystery of its habitat, and the tragedy of its possible extinction combine to make the ivory-billed woodpecker one of peculiar interest to all Americans who have any pride in the natural resources of their country...
The ivorybill is primarily a bird of the great moss-hung southern swamps, where mature timber with its dying branches provides a bounteous food supply of wood-boring larvae, but its habits apparently vary in different parts of its range, for the birds I observed in Florida, although nesting in cypress swamp, did most of their feeding along its borders on recently killed young pines that were infested with beetle larvae. They even got down on the ground like flickers to feed among palmetto roots on a recent burn. In Louisiana, on the other hand, the nesting birds observed confined their activities to a mature forest of oak, sweetgum, and hackberry, and paid little attention to the cypress trees along the lagoons.
At what time the winter groups of ivorybills break up and spring activities commence is rather difficult to state, for there seems to be considerable irregularity to the breeding season. Judged from published records of its nests, the period of greatest activity would seem to be late March and early April... there are a few records of February nesting...
...once a pair has established a territory it seems to cling to that area winter and summer... These territories are doubtless several miles in diameter, but the tendency was for the birds to build up small communities in certain areas until in former years, when their distribution was normal, they were reported as fairly common by observers who happened upon one of these communities. On the other hand, there were perhaps always large areas of similar timber uninhabited by them, so that with equal truth by equally competent observers they were called extremely rare. How much farther they range during the winter than during the nesting season has not yet been worked out, but doubtless the area covered at times is considerably larger, and this accounts for sporadic records of birds in nonbreeding seasons in areas where no nests have been located and where no one has been able to find the birds subsequently.
The family groups apparently keep together until the following nesting season, and Mr. Kuhn has reported seeing groups of from three to five birds even as late as early March. Hoyt (1905) states that 'after the young leave the nest in April they and the parents remain together until the mating season in December.' " (from Life Histories of North American Woodpeckers by Arthur C. Bent)
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