Not Red-Stained, but Stained Glass Woodpecker

Last week, Allan Mueller, manager of avian conservation at the Nature Conservancy in Arkansas, initiated a search effort with teams of volunteers and expert field biologists in order to verify the existence of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker (Campephilus principalis) in the Big Woods. Mueller reported last year spotting the bird assessed to be extinct in 1994. A generous reward of $50,000 has been promised by an anonymous donor to anyone who leads the team to living proof.

The search team is armed with surveillance cameras and audio technology to ease acquisition of undeniable photographic evidence:

Searchers will spend at least six hours a day in the woods, including sunrise or sunset, when the bird is most active. They will look for nest holes and for signs of a fresh feeding. Once they identify these, the group will fix a remote camera on them.

Each search team will use a double-knocker to attract the woodpecker. The wooden box is strapped to a tree and hit with hinged wooden dowels to replicate the sound the bird makes with its bill. A CD player will also be used to broadcast the bird’s distinctive call and attract the bird.

I managed to spot one right here in the Little Italy district of San Diego.

Ivory-bill in Stained Glass

This is not the conclusive evidence that the scientific community craves, but it would look fine in a custom cut West-facing hole in the wall.

~ by finchwench on Tuesday, 9 December 2008.

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