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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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Monday, April 21, 2008

 

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In possibly more discouraging news, just noticed this brief note from LSU's James Van Remsen on the Louisiana birding listserv today in regard to the La. IBWO search:
"LA DWF sponsored a 4-person, 30-day search of the best habitats in Pearl River WMA in Jan/Feb, and they did not detect any evidence for presence of IBWO."
Can I assume this is in fact a reference to THIS year (if so, did they have any contact with Mike Collins)??? I had not heard of the LSU folks spending any significant time in the Pearl of late (...if anything, one might expect them to be spending time in the Atchafalaya this season?). (Their 2002 effort was a similar 6-person, 30-day Jan/Feb search of the Pearl.)

In other news, in early March I briefly mentioned here the surprise finding (by remote camera) in California of a wolverine long thought to be extirpated from the area. Here an interesting follow-up report to that story demonstrating that controversy isn't unique to the Ivory-bill situation.
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Comments:
Thanks Cyberthrush, I've followed the story of the wolverine sighting and posted about my own Utah sighting over on the IBWO forum.

I wouldn't find it remarkable that the animal in question wandered down from the Sawtooths; it would of course be horrifying if it were shown to be related to Alaska wolverines. I'm troubled, though, about the claim that California wolverines were shown to be more closely related to Siberian and Asian varieties; I'm wondering how that happened evolutionarily, and I think the findings and the provenance of the artifacts should be carefully reviewed.

Concolor1
 
Fascinating! Keep us updated if you can.
 
Van Remsen sent his team over to Stennis to meet with me, and we spent a couple of days in the field together. All four of them are skilled naturalists and at least two of them have extensive professional field experience, but it usually takes a lot more than 30 days to find ivorybills. Despite their talents in the field, those guys had almost no hope of finding the birds because their hands were tied. They were required to do bird and vegetation surveys. You're not going to find an ivorybill while going along pishing up every Carolina Wren. Those guys also failed to find any evidence of White-tailed Kite during their 30 days in the Pearl, but that species was present. One of the Cornell searchers saw one during the period that the LSU searchers were present. I have spent three field seasons in the Pearl and have only seen White-tailed Kite once (and got some video of it). This is a good example of how easily a rare species can hide out in a vast habitat like the Pearl.

Mike
 
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