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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, November 01, 2010


-- Briefly Noted --


Bobby Harrison posts a pic of an Ivory-bill and nest (taken from Florida ~1890) in an Alabama museum:


What I find most intriguing is the size of the nesthole as measured by Bobby... quite small. Possibly it reflects the huge variability in IBWO cavities (further downgrading them as a diagnostic tool), but I'm wondering if there is anything that might be done to a museum artifact (to preserve it) that could possibly have shrunk the hole-size??? (Doesn't seem likely, but anyone know?)
Several people have sent me pics of cavities over the years, many of which I quickly dismissed as looking too small (though difficult to judge size from a photo), but now I wonder...

On a side-note, a reader alerts me that the Auburn Choctawhatchee webpages have been taken down (I presume they're still available on the "Wayback Machine," but haven't looked); a somewhat sad happenstance/omen?. Will the Nature Conservancy and Cornell IBWO pages slowly disappear into-cyber-thin-air over time as well....?

ADDENDUM: I've now heard from someone who previously worked with Dr. Hill and has been in touch with him, who says that the Auburn pages/material are in the process of being moved to a new server and are only 'down' temporarily; should be back up once the changeover is complete; hopefully that is the case.
2 other ivory-bill nest entrances reported in the literature are narrower than this: Scott, 1888, 3 1/2 inches; Hoyt, 1905, only 3 1/4 inches. This entrance has a smaller vertical dimension than any other I am aware of, although it is not much less than that of a cavity reported by Beyer (1900) at 4 1/4 inches. One active pileated nest was measured by yours truly at 10.9 x 13.8 cm (about 4.3 x 5.4 inches). This illustrates the difficulty of identifying ivory-bill nest cavities in a sea of others.
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