Posted by: Loren Coleman on September 6th, 2007
Geoffrey Hill, Scharnagel Professor of Biology at Auburn University and author of Ivorybill Hunters: The Search for Proof in the Florida Panhandle told reporter Donathan Prater of the Opelika Auburn News that he has obtained three types of evidence of Ivory-billed Woodpeckers (Campephilus principalis): audio, video, and photographic.
After getting a small grant, Hill and several of his colleagues traveled to the Florida Panhandle in January 2007. There, they set up listening stations and remote cameras, and indeed, did record the distinctive double-knocking sound and Kent calls the Ivory-billed Woodpecker makes. While in Florida, Hill and his colleagues were able to record both photo and video of Ivory-billed Woodpeckers.
Hill and a team of ornithologists from Auburn University and the University of Windsor have also published a paper detailing the evidence they’ve found supporting the existence of Ivory-billed Woodpeckers along the Choctawhatchee River in Florida.
The Ivory-bill is the largest species of woodpecker in the U.S. and one of the two largest species of woodpecker in the world, second in size only to the Imperial Woodpecker of Mexico. This is a bird endemic to the most remote swamp/ wilderness areas of the South….
Sadly, this is a bird we almost let slip away. The first catastrophe for this bird was the loss of habitat with the clearing of vast Cypress forests in the South toward the end of the 19th and onset of the 20th centuries.
As the bird became rarer and rarer, the more prized a specimen became in personal collections.
Hill’s pursuit of better photographic evidence continues:
We just haven’t gotten a really good break yet in getting photos of this bird, but it does exist. I believe this is the sunrise on a new age of Ivory-bills, and once they’re proven to exist, we can go about preserving the habitat they live in.Professor Geoffrey Hill
Source: “Professor makes case for existence of Ivory-billed Woodpeckers,” Opelika Auburn News, September 6, 2007.