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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, May 02, 2007

 

-- A Reader's Thought --

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I thought I'd heard it all before, but today a reader sends in this simple thought I can't recall ever running across:
"Your message today about numerous vast areas
for searching brings me back to an idea I
have had a long time, the use of dogs
trained by scent to search large areas for
the IB. I know from personal experience a dog
can quickly make the invisible appear.
Goodness knows there are too many
stuffed specimens from which to get
the scent. A dog multiplies the searching
power of human by one thousand percent."
I can't imagine this is practical or someone would've considered it before now, and I'm doubtful a dog can pick up a scent from a decades-old museum specimen, but what do I know... Any thoughts from folks who know about such matters? There's also the whole issue of dogs making their way through very brushy and/or swampy habitat I s'pose.
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Comments:
This technique might work great, provided that live Ivory-billed Woodpeckers smell like naphthalene. And even if they did, I doubt they would leave much of a ground scent for dogs to follow.
 
On top of that, dogs are generally prohibited in NWRs with a few specific exceptions for bird dogs in active hunts and field trials; in National Parks and Monuments they are generally prohibited entirely in most areas.

The animal you need for finding this bird is a bipedal ape: experienced human observers. Nothing more should be required.
 
I think that dogs are often extremely effective for ground living species, but I am not sure of their effectiveness for high flying species.

I used to rabbit hunt and had one dog that decided she liked quail over rabbits (much to my irritation). This dog had an excellent sense of smell (better than my other dogs), but I still doubt if she would have been effective on locating quail if they flew at 40 feet above the ground as compared with 10 feet or less for the typical quail of the area.

just my two cents,
Steve Sheridan
 
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