Tuesday, September 26, 2006

ENV: More Ivorybill News

Evidence Suggesting that Ivory-billed Woodpeckers (Campephilus principalis) Exist in Florida

ABSTRACT
The Ivory-billed Woodpecker (Campephilus principalis) disappeared from the forests of southeastern North America in the early 20th Century and for more than 50 years has been widely considered extinct. On 21 May 2005, we detected a bird that we identified as an Ivory-billed Woodpecker in the mature swamp forest along the Choctawhatchee River in the panhandle of Florida. During a subsequent year of research, members of our small search team observed birds that we identified as Ivory-billed Woodpeckers on 14 occasions. We heard sounds that matched descriptions of Ivory-billed Woodpecker acoustic signals on 41 occasions. We recorded 99 putative double knocks and 210 putative kent calls. We located cavities in the size range reported for Ivory-billed Woodpeckers and larger than those of Pileated Woodpeckers (Dryocopus pileatus) that have been reported in the literature or that we measured in Alabama. We documented unique foraging signs consistent with the feeding behavior of Ivory-billed Woodpeckers. Our evidence suggests that Ivory-billed Woodpeckers may be present in the forests along the Choctawhatchee River and warrants an expanded search of this bottomland forest habitat.

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