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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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-- Hamlet

"All truth passes through 3 stages: First it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as self-evident."

-- Arthur Schopenhauer

Friday, May 15, 2009


-- Tidbit --


In a post over at IBWO Researchers Forum "Fangsheath" quotes briefly from a letter of Arthur Wayne's (famous 19th century collector of IBWOs) stating that "The Ivory-bill is a bird of the inland swamps, not the river swamps...." (the letter is included in a new volume, "The Travails of Two Woodpeckers: Ivory-bills and Imperials" from Noel Snyder et.al.).
Fangsheath goes on to add, "By inland swamp he seems to mean any of the hardwood- or cypress-dominated forests of what we now call the Gulf Hammock region, not associated with major rivers. This seems to include hammocks, bays, and cypress domes, which interdigitate with pine flatwoods in this region. In his 1893 paper he stated that the birds were to be found in large tracts of heavy timber "destroyed" by fire. This suggests to me that occasional fires burning from the pyrogenic pine forests and into fire-tender swamp forests/hammocks yielded patches of high tree mortality, attracting ivory-bills. The preference of the birds for hardwood and cypress forests away from major rivers in this area may also explain why Brewster saw so few of these birds along the Suwannee."

Impossible to know to what degree Wayne's experience-based notions from over 100 years ago in Florida might apply to any Ivory-bills remaining today in other locales, but interesting nonetheless.

According to Fangsheath, at the time (1905) Wayne contended there were still good numbers of IBWOs in at least 3 separate areas of Florida (many already thought the Ivory-bill extinct at the turn of the century). Read the full post HERE.

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