Thursday, January 08, 2009

Woodpecker rumblings...

Cornell has posted a note about their upcoming searches, as anyone who is following this saga doubtless already knows. Quite interesting to see where they are focusing their effort this year; it makes one wonder if they found more there last year than they have let on (no, I don't know anything). I'm very pleased to see them expanding their vision beyond the classic "old growth bottomland hardwood" myth, a habitat that ceased to exist in any significant quantity nearly a century ago and to which the Ivorybill never was restricted, based on historical accounts. If this species has persisted, obviously it has done it without the benefit of extensive virgin bottomlands.

In their discussions of other areas, South Carolina finally seems to be getting its due recognition as one of the swampiest of states; remember you read it here first three years ago! Now if someone would take serious notice of the Oconee-Altamaha corridor in Georgia or the Ouachita-Saline drainages in south central and southwestern Arkansas... both of which consist primarily of large private holdings with little or no public access that have seen almost no birders in them ever.

Quick mentions are made of search activities in a variety of other areas, including Tennessee. In the new spirit of non-openness about Ivorybill matters (lovingly fostered by years of vitriolic attacks on nearly all people involved in activities intended to actually determine empirically, not just theoretically, whether this species still exists), what I can say about this is nothing. Well, OK, I can say a little. As I understand it, by and large these searches are being carried out in undisclosed locations, by unnamed people including volunteers, state, and/or federal personel, using teensy weensy budgets... in at least some states less money per year for the entire state than is blown by a typical flock of gringo birders attempting to beef up their world lists on one single international birding tour. So if you wanna pitch a fit about wastes of resources that could be used for conservation...


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