Odds and Ends in Advance of the Next Trip

I’m looking forward to spending next week in our search area, though I was saddened to hear about recent events in Marksville. I know it has caused great distress to many in that part of the state.

But on a brighter note, one of my top priorities is to see whether there’s been any fresh scaling on the downed sweet gum top. If so, we’ll likely have multiple images that show the source or sources of this unusual work. Fingers crossed.

There’s a great new series of Magellanic Woodpecker pictures over in Bill Benish’s Flickr group. Two birds are on what appears to be a not-very-recently scaled snag. Interestingly though, there are what looks like fresh, lateral bill marks on the wood. This led me to revisit some pictures I took in 2012 of this freshly scaled oak or sweet gum. While I’ve posted a couple of images of this tree in several places, I neglected to post what may be the most significant one. I’m posting it here and have added it to the bark scaling gallery. Note the strike marks in the cambium. There’s no damage to the sapwood, but these appear to come from a broad, chisel-like bill. This seems to be a perfect match for what J.J. Kuhn considered to be diagnostic, per Edith Kuhn Whitehead.

Lateral strike marks in the cambium

Broad lateral strike marks in the cambium

I found another photograph of Magellanic foraging sign that I think is reminiscent of work I found on the small sweet gums this spring.

Close-up of 2" diameter limb that apparently broke off while being fed upon

Close-up of 2″ diameter limb that apparently broke off while being fed upon

The work on the small fork at the upper left appears similar to Magellanic work.

The sign on the small fork at the upper left and at the very top seems similar to Magellanic work.

Finally, it’s really gratifying that BirdLife International referenced my post on IBWO records 1944-2003 in their species fact sheet.

I may post some brief updates from the field and should have a full trip report up in about two weeks.


Pileated Woodpecker Work from Around the Net

I’m looking forward to returning to Louisiana at the end of the month and have high hopes that our trail cams will reveal just what’s removing bark from the trees in our search area.

In the meantime, I thought I’d compile a new group of links to images showing bark scaling (without accompanying excavation) done or suspected to have been done by Pileated Woodpeckers. Obviously long dead snags are excluded. Compare these images with the work we suspect to have been done by ivorybills, all on live or freshly dead wood. As discussed in this and other posts, it’s our hypothesis that the differences are anatomically determined.

One example.


And another (scroll down).

Apparently a long dead snag, suspected PIWO, note small chips on the ground and the way they appear to have been flaked rather than pried off.

I suspect the work from Congaree shown on this Cornell Mobile Search Team page is Pileated. As the commentary indicates, it’s somewhat consistent with what would be expected for IBWO, but it’s patchy and not extensive:

A couple of additional examples.

This appears to be a softwood. (Our diagnostic criteria include only hardwoods). Even so, note the layered appearance:

Another softwood, also showing the tendency to flake bark off in layers rather than knock off large chunks:

Another pine.

Small hardwood.

Hard to tell the age of this snag, but note the layered appearance on the right. The apparently stripped limb in the foreground appears to be long dead: