Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

More Proof Of Woodpecker Revealed In Audio Recordings

August 15, 2005
Cornell University
Cornell researchers will formally present new audio evidence of ivory-billed woodpeckers Aug. 24 at the 123rd American Ornithologists Union meeting in Santa Barbara, Calif.

Ivory-billed Woodpecker from Audubon Plate 66.
Credit: Image courtesy of Yale University

ITHACA, N.Y. -- Cornell University researchers will presentnew audio evidence supporting the existence of the phantomlikeivory-billed woodpecker Aug. 24 and 25 at the 123rd AmericanOrnithologists' Union meeting in Santa Barbara, Calif.

CornellLab of Ornithology researcher Russ Charif will begin presenting the newaudio evidence at 10:30 a.m. PST Aug. 24 in Lotte Lehmann Hall at theUniversity of California-Santa Barbara (UCSB). Lab members RonRohrbaugh and Ken Rosenberg and Director John Fitzpatrick will alsomake presentations.

One recording suggests the presence of atleast two birds: a signature double rap that sounds like anivory-billed woodpecker drumming on a tree from a distance followed bya closer double rap. This drumming behavior is typical of many largewoodpeckers closely related with the ivory-bill. Other recordingsinclude sounds that resemble the ivory-billed woodpecker'sdistinctively nasal "kent" calls. The sounds were discovered by Cornellaudio experts combing through 17,000 hours of audio files fromautonomous recording units installed in the Arkansas woods andswamplands.

The ivory-billed woodpecker was thought extinct forsome 60 years until bird experts, including Tim Gallagher, an editorand birder from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, claimed to have spottedit in Arkansas' Big Woods in February 2004.

In April 2005, theonline version of Science magazine published a study led byFitzpatrick, in a partnership involving the Cornell Lab of Ornithology,The Nature Conservancy and other researchers. As direct evidence, thepaper contained a Web link to a brief, blurry but carefully analyzedvideo clip of the woodpecker. Since then, several researchers,including ornithologists Richard Prum of Yale University, Mark Robbinsof the University of Kansas and Jerome Jackson, a zoologist fromFlorida Gulf Coast University -- publicly declared the evidenceunconvincing and disputed it in an article submitted to the PublicLibrary of Science (PLoS).

Other experts also stepped forward to say that the Science paper failed to provide definitive proof of the elusive woodpecker.

Inresponse to this ongoing scientific debate, Fitzpatrick and colleaguessubmitted their comments to PloS. They also provided sound recordingsfrom Arkansas as further proof of the bird's survival.

The audiofiles proved so convincing that Prum, Robbins and Jackson reported thatthey now believe that the woodpecker exists. They immediately withdrewtheir paper from PLoS.

"The thrilling new sound recordingsprovide clear and convincing evidence that the ivory-billed woodpeckeris not extinct," Prum said in a statement issued by Yale Aug. 2.

"Wehave a lot of mysteries still to solve about this bird," saidFitzpatrick. "But we do stand by our evidence that at least one wasalive in 2004 and early 2005."

Fitzpatrick added that theresearch team knew of a few of the recordings when they released videoevidence of the ivory-billed woodpecker in April 2005, but they had notconducted detailed acoustic analyses.

That the bird stillsurvives despite so many years without a verifiable sighting hasprompted many people to work toward ensuring the woodpecker's continuedexistence. Since the April 28 announcement of the bird's rediscovery inWashington, D.C., the U.S. Departments of the Interior and ofAgriculture have announced a multiyear, multimillion-dollar partnershipto protect the bird's habitat. This includes more than $10 million infederal funds to protect the bird on top of an equal amount alreadypromised by private groups and individuals. The federal money is taggedfor such activities as research, monitoring, public education,conservation easements, reforestation and law enforcement.

Thegovernment also has protected 320,000 acres of public land in the CacheRiver area in Arkansas where the bird was spotted. The NatureConservancy is leading an effort to expand that land to 600,000 acres,an area half the size of Delaware.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Cornell University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Cite This Page:

Cornell University. "More Proof Of Woodpecker Revealed In Audio Recordings." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 August 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/08/050814162847.htm>.
Cornell University. (2005, August 15). More Proof Of Woodpecker Revealed In Audio Recordings. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/08/050814162847.htm
Cornell University. "More Proof Of Woodpecker Revealed In Audio Recordings." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/08/050814162847.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This

More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Visitors Feel Part of the Pack at Wolf Preserve

Visitors Feel Part of the Pack at Wolf Preserve

AP (July 31, 2014) Seacrest Wolf Preserve on the northern Florida panhandle allows more than 10,000 visitors each year to get up close and personal with Arctic and British Columbian Wolves. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers

Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers

AP (July 31, 2014) With Florida's panther population rebounding, some ranchers complain the protected predators are once again killing their calves. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

AP (July 31, 2014) Sarasota County, Florida health officials have issued a warning against eating raw oysters and exposing open wounds to coastal and inland waters after a dangerous bacteria killed one person and made another sick. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

AP (July 30, 2014) Thousands of people are trekking to a Bavarian farmer's field to check out a mysterious set of crop circles. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.


Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News


    Free Subscriptions

    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile

    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?

    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile: iPhone Android Web
    Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins