Preliminary Report: Independent Ivory-billed Woodpecker Search in East-Central Louisiana
In late July 2009, team members learned about a number of Ivory-billed Woodpecker reports from East-Central Louisiana and received permission from local landowners to conduct an ongoing search on their property. Team leader Frank Wiley started visiting the area on a regular basis in August 2009. From November 23-28, Mark Michaels joined Wiley in searching the area, and in January 2010, a larger group comprised of Wiley, Michaels, Bill Benish, Ross Everett, Mark Gahler, Paul McCaslin, and Dr. Larry Sanders spent over a week in the habitat.
Search methods have included identifying and staking out potential roosts and feeding trees and the deployment of Reconyx cameras. In January 2010, Mark Gahler deployed three remote recording units of his own design. In addition, William Powers of pixcontroller.com has been kind enough to lend us three of his personal units, one still and two video; these cameras produce images of far higher resolution than other commercially available devices.
We have kept the relevant government authorities informed about our efforts and have elected to go public with some of the data we have gathered thus far in hopes that it will provide other searchers with encouragement. We also believe that the open and transparent exchange of information is desirable, provided it does not interfere with the ongoing search. For this reason, we have kept certain things vague, to protect the landowners’ privacy and peace of mind and so that we can continue our work without intrusion.
This is a preliminary report and does not include all the data we have gathered, only some of what we consider most intriguing. While we believe that we have seen, heard, and photographed Ivory-billed Woodpeckers in our search area, we are not suggesting that what we have obtained proof that this is so. Indeed, we recognize that our data are inconclusive, and our efforts to obtain irrefutable evidence are ongoing.
Please understand that we are a group of individuals, most of us citizen-scientists, who have undertaken this effort on our own time and on our own dime. Please respect the privacy of the landowners and the fact that our search efforts are ongoing. We would be happy to respond to serious inquiries from credentialed researchers.