Out of the Everglades, Onward to South Carolina
By Martjan Lammertink and Martin Piorkowksi
April 6, 2009
|Everglades National Park biologist Sonny|
Bass shuttles the crew through the
mangroves. Photo by Abe Borker
The Sig Walker and Gator Hook Strands, the central part of the Fakahatchee Strand, and remote sections in the mangroves were among the most challenging sites we reached. As planned, we covered about 80% of the total surface of areas of interest.
| Black mangroves|
by Martjan Lammertink
It was disappointing to find that even in the areas most difficult to access, such as the Gator Hook and Sig Walker Strands, there are old signs of selective logging from the 1920s and 1930s. Although the current quality of the habitat remains excellent, this does mean that access in the form of tram lines was available to collectors and trophy hunters in those years. We have found no signs of Ivory-billed Woodpeckers. No sightings, double knocks or calls, no replies to our many double-knock imitations. We have seen a few cavities of the appropriate size and shape for ivory-bills, but these can be old, or exceptionally large Pileated Woodpecker cavities, or mammal-enlarged Pileated Woodpecker cavities.
Photo by Martjan Lammertink
Given the results, it is unlikely a population of any meaningful size of Ivory-billed Woodpeckers exists in south Florida. Because the habitat in its current state has a lot of potential, we do think that lingering individuals might still move around in the region. South Florida parks, preserves, agencies, and birders should remain attentive and open-minded to reports of the species in the region.
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology will remain available to assist in following up on promising reports.