Thursday, November 30, 2006

Ivory-billed Woodpecker in December's National Geographic

In addition to the article in magazine, you'll find videos on the NatGeo website. The four clips might take a while to load, but you'll likely enjoy the chance to hear Nancy Tanner discuss her husband's Ivory-billed Woodpecker work in the late 1930s in Louisiana and to hear Bobby Harrison talk about his efforts. You'll also hear a recording of the ivory-bill's "kent" call.

In the third video clip, Bobby mentions a kayaker from eastern Arkansas who led him and Tim Gallagher through the swamp. For the record, the kayaker's name is Gene Sparling, and you'll see a photo of him (wearing sunglasses and a short-sleeved blue shirt) during the clip. You can see another photo here.

The magazine article includes a map of sightings, and the map indicates unconfirmed sightings in South Carolina's Congaree National Park this year. Park officials apparently would've preferred not to appear on the map. From

The people coordinating the ivory-billed woodpecker search at Congaree National Park were surprised that a map in the December issue of National Geographic indicates there were unconfirmed sightings of the bird there in 2006.

They don't question the map's accuracy; they just wouldn't go quite that far. They stick to a strict guideline: Don't publicize potential sightings until you have incontrovertible proof.

They don't have that at Congaree National Park. Not yet, at least.

"There were potential encounters that occurred," said Jennifer Koches, spokeswoman for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which organized the search. "But nothing that we can claim as confirmed documentation.

"We're going to have to be totally definitive before we go forward with anything. There's going to have to be photographic evidence."
Do you think there has to be photographic evidence before more effort goes into the search?


Blogger Susan Gets Native said...

Listening to the "kent" call, over and over as I waited for the videos to load, brought tears to my eyes. I hadn't heard it before, had only read other's accounts of what it sounded like.
Do we need photographs? Well, what with all the broo-ha-ha about the Florida pictures and all the skeptics, we need those skeptics to get hit in the head by an ivory-billed. Or find a dead one.
All I can do is leave it up to the experts and HOPE.

November 30, 2006 6:58 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

Such a distinctive call, isn't it? When Tim Gallagher played the 1930s recording for the packed auditorium at last year's Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival, the entire room seemed to be enthralled.

November 30, 2006 7:28 PM  
Blogger Dr. Charles said...

that was a superb issue, makes me want to subscribe again (but i lack the time to read consistently). i linked to another more depressing part of that issue (the medics on the front lines of the iraq mess).
hope you are well, happy holidays :)

December 01, 2006 12:28 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

Thank you, Dr. C!

December 03, 2006 10:34 AM  
Blogger Julie A. said...

Anyone who has read Tim Gallagher's book and is still a skeptic is going to need a carcas to believe. We're not talking UFOs, here. No one disputes that the ivory-billed woodpecker DID exist in the 20th century. The recent sightings have been by reputable and experienced birders. Certainly enough indication to justify continuing the search!

As an extremely amateur wannabe bird photographer, I find it hard to get an identifiable photo of a backyard bird, let alone one in flight at a distance. I think they should get the photographers from the Kodak Peregrine mailing list; they get amazing in-flight shots. Of course, they watch the birds for long periods of time and have plenty of set-up time to get those shots. I have a strong hunch the "proof" is coming in the 2006-2207 season. I think it might already exist and just not be ready for release yet. Fingers crossed.

December 24, 2006 1:20 PM  

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