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ivory billed woodpecker campephilus principalis persists in continental north america

Ivory-billed Woodpecker (Campephilusprincipalis) Persists in Continental North America

John W. Fitzpatrick, Martjan Lammertink, M. David Luneau Jr., Tim W. Gallagher, Bobby R. Harrison, Gene M. Sparling, Kenneth V. Rosenberg, Ronald W. Rohrbaugh, Elliott C. H. Swarthout, Peter H. Wrege, Sara Barker Swarthout, Marc S. Dantzker, Russell A. Charif, Timothy R. Barksdale, J. V. Remsen Jr., Scott D. Simon, and Douglas Zollner

Science308, 1460 (2005)

slide2

Previous Studies

Characteristics of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker (Jackson, 2002)

Size:

• Largest woodpecker in U.S.

• 2nd largest in the world

Vocalization:

• Nasal-sounding “kent”

• Unique “double knock”

Feeding:

• Prefers beetle larvae

• Uses chisel-like beak to pry bark from dead trees

slide3

Previous Studies

Populations of Ivory-billed Woodpeckers

Habitat:

• Lowland primary forests of southeastern U.S. (Jackson, 2002)

• Populations widespread in area but not abundant in number

• Documented only one pair per 16 km2 of forest (Tanner, 1942)

slide4

Previous Studies

Populations of Ivory-billed Woodpeckers

Decline:

• Precipitous population decline began in late 1800s (Jackson, 2002)

• Forests cut for wood products and cleared for agriculture

• Estimated only 22-24 birds in U.S. by 1930s (Tanner, 1942)

slide5

Previous Studies

Populations of Ivory-billed Woodpeckers

Endangered:

• 1930s last population located in NE Louisiana (Allen and Kellogg, 1937)

• Detailed population study from 1937-1939 (Tanner, 1942)

• Singer sold tract to lumber company - logging began 1938

slide6

Previous Studies

“Extinction” of Ivory-billed Woodpeckers

• Population in Singer Tract

declined to 6 birds by 1939

(Tanner, 1942)

• Last individual in Singer Tract

seen in forest remnant in 1944

(Eckelberry, 1961)

• Sporadic sightings reported, but

no valid evidence until now

Key Question

Does recently acquired video and audio evidence provide conclusive

documentation for the sighting of an Ivory-billed Woodpecker?

slide7

Materials

Ivory-billed Woodpecker Sighted in “Big Woods” of Arkansas

Evidence:

• February 2004 - Feb 2005:

Seven sightings, all within 3 km

• April 2004:

Luneau recorded video containing

4 seconds of activity – bird perched

on a tree trunk, then flew

• Although blurry video, crucial field marks allow

identification of Ivory-billed woodpecker

slide8

Materials

Pileated Woodpecker vs. Ivory-billed Woodpecker

• Pileated common and abundant in Ivory-billed habitat

• Ivory-billed identification must rule out Pileated possibility

slide9

Materials

Pileated Woodpecker vs. Ivory-billed Woodpecker

slide10

Methods

Video:

• Examined Luneau video stills for markings on the bird in question

• Examined numerous video clips of Pileated Woodpeckers in flight

• Chose video frames with Pileated dorsal and/or ventral wing surface

in view angles similar to Luneau video woodpecker views

• Reduced resolution and added blur to Pileated frames until images

were similarly out of focus as in Luneau video

Sound:

• acoustically monitored 20 km2 of forest near sightings

slide11

Results and Discussion

Video stills analysis:

• allows determination of size and wing pattern while perched

• allows determination of wing pattern in flight

Acoustic analysis:

• “double-knock” drumming heard sporadically – gunshot echoes?

• “kent” sounds recorded - exceptional Blue Jay calls?

slide12

Results and Discussion

Perched Bird

with inset interpretive drawing of Ivory-billed Woodpecker

slide13

Results and Discussion

Bird in Flight - Ventral Wing Patterns

with inset interpretive drawing of

Ivory-billed (top) and Pileated (bottom) Woodpecker

slide14

Results and Discussion

Bird in Flight - Dorsal Wing Patterns

with inset interpretive drawing of

Ivory-billed (top) and Pileated (bottom) Woodpecker

slide15

Conclusions

• Although acoustic evidence is minimal, video analysis provides

conclusive evidence for the sighting of an Ivory-billed Woodpecker

• Results confirm the existence of at least one male of the species

• Difficulty of detecting Ivory-billed woodpeckers in the Big Woods

may be due to low population density

• Big Woods - approximately 2000 km2 of potential habitat need

protection based on evidence of possible Ivory-billed population

• Future funding to continue searches depend on additional evidence

slide18

Bibliography

Allen, A. A. and Kellogg, P. P. (1937) Recent Observations on the Ivory-billed Woodpecker,

Auk, vol. 54, pp. 164-184

Eckelberry, D. (1961) in Discovery: Great Moments in the Lives of Outstanding Naturalists,

J. K. Terres, ed., Philadelphia, pp. 195–207

Jackson, J. A. (2002) Ivory-billed Woodpecker (Campephilus principalis). The Birds of

North America Online (A. Poole, Ed.). Ithaca: Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology;

Retrieved from The Birds of North American Online database:

http://bna.birds.cornell.edu/BNA/account/Ivory-billed_Woodpecker/

Tanner, J.T. (1942) The Ivory-billed Woodpecker, Research Report No. 1,

National Audubon Society, New York