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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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Saturday, February 11, 2006

 

-- Encounters...? --

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Maybe they're feeling the pressure... after earlier indicating they would not report on non-definitive Ivory-bill enounter claims until the search season was over, Cornell has now posted a brief summary of IBWO claims since the winter effort began:

http://www.birds.cornell.edu/ivory/field/encounters

They cautiously report 6 possible sightings (from all the rumors, I'm a bit surprised it's not higher than that) and another 10 auditory encounters. Again, nothing definitive here, maybe just a morale-booster for those involved in the search, and always nice to get updates.

And Mike Collins has posted an interesting photo of some foraging sign in the Pearl area he is searching:

http://www.fishcrow.com/foraging.jpg


Unfortunately (does the ambiguity NEVER end) Pileateds are known on occasion to make these sorts of furrows, although I've never seen an example of this many in a single tree. It's difficult to deduce size from Mike's pic, but Holzman/Sykes have previously indicated that Pileated furrows are likely to be less than 3 ft. long, and anything over 3 ft. is highly suspicious (the top furrow looks over 3 ft. to my eye???).

And HAPPY ANNIVERSARY everyone!! -- it was two years ago today that Gene Sparling, kayaking "in a magical place," noted seeing "a large woodpecker and the black-and-white pattern seems reversed." Cheers to all involved! We're now entering the heart of the breeding season, so with luck, additional interesting reports will be forthcoming...

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Addendum: 'Fangsheath' at BirdForum has posted the following links to examples of Pileated foraging not too unlike Mike's Pearl River find:

http://www.wellsgray.ca/pileated.jpg
http://www.startribune.com/stonline/images/news79/1wpecker07.l.jpg
http://www.cfl.forestry.ca/collections-cfl/malg/010197G.jpg
http://www.cfl.forestry.ca/collections-cfl/malg/010206G.jpg
http://www.cfl.forestry.ca/collections-cfl/malg/010218G.jpg

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Comments:
Just a quick note on a typo: Sparling's sighting was two years ago.
 
ahhhh yes, thanks, corrected above; April will mark one year since the official announcement, but it's been 2 years since Gene's initial encounter.
 
2/14/06

This is directed to both Mike Collins and Fangsheath

Mike, your photo is intriqueing, it looks more extensive than the known Pileated sign I was use to seeing.

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Fangsheath
Here are my comments on your images regarding this article

•Pileated.jpeg
This is very consistent with known Pileated damage I have seen, but a bit more extensive.

•1wpecker07.l.jpg
Thia image (with the Pileated still present) looks consistent with Pileated damage, but more extensive than I am use to seeing.

•010197G.jpg
Thia image looks consistent with Pileated damage, but again more extensive than I am use to seeing.

•010206G.jpg
I have seen similar damage to this from much smaller woodpeckers. I have seen Pileated damage similar to this, but not with that many cavities. Is this tree by any chance a wild Black Cherry?

•010218G.jpg
Fang, this one really throws me for a loop, I have never seen any Pileated damage that resembled this. Can you enlighten me more on the data relating to this photo.

My Pileated comments come from Pileated damage I have seen/examined in southern Indiana from 1970 to the present. The southern Indiana Pileateds seem to be on the larger end of the spectrum for the species, with birds that appear to be in the 17 inch range.
 
BTW

Mike

Way to go with your search, keep up the excellent work. I would really love to see one of these birds again. I hope you have the opportunity to have a detailed sighting up close of a non-flying bird. You will never forget it.
 
Since the last 3 images came from a Canadian Forestry Service website, I presume they were taken in Canada, but I have no further info at this point. My impression is that such long trenches are more common in the more northern parts of the range of the pileated. In the South they seem much rarer, and I have never seen photos resembling the last one except from eastern Arkansas. It is possible that in areas with very long winters pileateds spend much more time excavating pits and consequently produce types of sign that are rarely if ever seen farther south. It hardly needs to be said that I would have very much liked to have measured individual gouges on any of these trees.
 
Fang

Thanks for the information. I think your gouge research along with Steve H's and Jesse's is heading in the right direction. I am going to try to start supplying Jesse with known Pileated gouges for the purpose of comparisons.

Steve Sheridan
 
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