The Ivory-billed Woodpecker, Campephilus principalis is one of the rarest birds in the world; it has been seen or heard in the last decade in at least four US states by various researchers. National Biodiversity Parks (NBP) has been field testing woodpecker (Picidae) responses and attraction to Ivory-billed Woodpecker double knock and kent simulations from 2006 to 2015 in 4 states. In 2007, ’08 and ’09, under formal federal permits, several of us spent ~ 80 man days studying responses in Congaree National Park.
While gathering extensive Picidae response data to simulated double knocks and kents, collated to exact GPS coordinates, we also gathered evidence of observed Ivory-billed density, habitat preferences and other pertinent parameters.
This project is considered ongoing; the data, interpretation and conclusions are still accumulating. The data will eventually be released as needed.
The large amount of information gathered and field time spent in several states indicates C. principalis was recently extant and likely still is.
Ivory-billeds that have the potential to move towards a signaling conspecific, likely use visual and audio clues to closely approach the acoustical stimuli. In the presence of a human imitator, the fraudulent signaler is either seen by the observant and wary Ivory-billed from a distance or one of the signals many parameters is deemed incorrect. Even if the signal is correct, Ivory-billeds which were heavily hunted, may need to see the conspecific before making the final close approach. Ivory-billeds can likely spot a signaling bird from quite a distance in primary forest. The historical hunting and collecting of Ivory-billeds for at least hundreds of years is well documented. There is evidence that human hunters used double knocks to lure in and shoot Ivory-billeds; the species avoidance of people and false acoustical lures is likely genetically based.
In many large contiguous areas of even aged secondary forest 60 to 80 years old that we surveyed or explored no Ivory-billeds were encountered despite many field days. In many suboptimal habitat of tens of thousands of acres taking many field days to acoustically survey, putative Ivory-billeds were not encountered.
Also see our three website sections on Ivory-billed field trips, sightings report and matching grants.
Please call or contact us if you would like to inquire about our studies, assist on continuing this important field project or tell us about your ideas or findings.
Avidiversity Studies in the Eastern US
Studying a diverse taxon of vertebrates in the Eastern US, birds, provides broad ecological data and often insight into which niches and habitats are being degraded or lost. NBP, stakeholders, scientists and our volunteers have carefully reviewed contemporary single site data for high avidiversity and species lists and converted this into action by proposing specific areas for preservation efforts. We have done this in NJ; but are interested in partnering mainly as a facilitator with other individuals/organizations in NJ and other states.
We can help citizens/partners develop a short list of pragmatic projects that can directly help the last individuals of select species in danger of local extirpation. Please contact us if you would like us to assist you in these important projects. Your participation may include field surveying (birding!), nest box erection, research, management and/or advocacy.
Here are some of the NJ birds we are interested in but the species that you propose for needed research in your area/state can be different.
Heron spp., Union, Bergen and Hudson County, NJ
Willet, Union and Middlesex County, NJ
Upland Sandpiper, Ocean and Sussex County, NJ
Ducks, Bergen County, NJ
Pileated Woodpecker, all of NJ
Northern Harrier, Union County, NJ and Staten Island, NY
Barred Owl, Bergen and Ocean County
Barn Owl, Union and Middlesex County, NJ
Barn Owl, Bergen and Hudson County, NJ
Hermit Thrush, Bergen County, NJ
Marsh Wren, Union and Bergen County, NJ
Warblers, Bergen County, NJ
Warblers, Monmouth County, NJ
Warblers, Union County, NJ
Willow Flycatcher, Union County, NJ
Grasshopper Sparrow, Monmouth County, NJ
Seaside Sparrow, Union County, NJ
Please contact us if you would like to assist on some of these projects or suggest a project.
In a small section of the 42,000 acre Joint Base the insect, herptile and avian grassland community is exceptional. NBP, as a Department of Defense approved biological contractor performed extensive formal surveying of breeding birds while leading various biodiversity-centric field trips for the public.
Birds found here, in state and regionally significant numbers, include Grasshopper Sparrows, Eastern Meadowlarks and Upland Sandpipers. No grassland complex in NJ has higher numbers of these species. Additional grassland species include Horned Lark, American Kestrel and occasionally Henslow’s Sparrow. Common Nighthawk, Whip-poor-will, Eastern Bluebird, various swallows, Brown Thrasher, Prairie Warbler, Pine Warbler, Eastern Towhee and many other species reach high densities while American Bittern, Bald Eagle, Blue Grosbeak, Hooded Warbler and Northern Waterthrush are found in low numbers.
The Upland Sandpiper may be making its last stand in New Jersey and possibly the Mid-Atlantic states at Lakehurst; we are quite concerned with this small but stable population. Please contact us if you would like to be placed on our call-back lists for formal surveys, studies or field trips. Please contact us to assist us in our studies.