Wednesday, December 28, 2005

ENV: Imperial Search

Some recent word on an Imperial Woodpecker search from the AZ/NM listserv:

From: Narca Date: Mon, 26 Dec 2005 11:31:30 -0700
Subject: Imperial Woodpecker search

Hi All,
As Helen notes, we just returned from a trip to the Divisadero/Creel/Cerocahui/Urique area of Copper Canyon, where we searched the pine forest not only for signs of the recently-reported Imperial Woodpecker, but also for the workings of a large woodpecker. (Elevations are above the range reported for Pale-billed and Lineated Woodpeckers, though of course birds can wander out-of-range.)

An exhaustive search of trees near Divisadero revealed no certain workings of woodpeckers any larger than a flicker, and only one instance of a potentially-larger bird at work. Those of you who live near Pileateds know that their workings are obvious.

The interesting fact remains that there have been reports of a very large woodpecker over the past 5 years from locals in the Divisadero area. The Mexican biologist who collected these reports had planned to join us, but became ill at the last minute.

Our feeling was that if the bird still survives, it will be in an unpopulated area, far from humans. That is very hard to find in Mexico. It was, after all, considered "un gran pedazo de carne" in a protein-starved region.

There were plenty of big snags in the forests, especially between Cerocahui and Urique Rim, which were full of beetle larvae. Food did not appear to be a limiting factor.

A quick look at a Steller's Jay in backlit conditions might confuse observers. The jays in this region were occasionally hammering on branches. . .

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