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Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Ivory-billed Woodpeckers in Florida?

After months of rumor, we finally can see the evidence that Auburn University researchers have for believing that Ivory-billed Woodpeckers still live in the Panhandle of Florida (see website here). So far, the evidence consists of some sitings (brief but including multiple field marks), lots of recorded double-knocks and "kent" calls, as well as bark scaling and large potential roost or nesting cavities. In short, perhaps better evidence than Cornell was able to get in Arkansas, but far short of proof. While critics at The Ivory-bill Skeptic are having a heyday with this, I'm glad this is all out in the open for everyone to see and hear. For one thing, the complete sound recordings are available online (here)--and though they may turn out to be the largest assembled collection of Blue Jay "kent" calls ever collected, if they can be proved to come from Blue Jays, or nuthatches, or whatever, they may have value at some point as conservationists and birders continue to deal with these unverified Ivory-billed Woodpecker reports.

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