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John Fitzpatrick, Christopher Clark  






Placement of ARU #3 and #4. Includes comments by unidentified people. Note that John Fitzpatrick and Christopher Clark are often separated by physical space and are not interacting with each other.  

NPR/NGS Radio Expeditions
25 Jan 2002

  • United States
    St. Tammany County
  • Bogue Chitto National Wildlife Refuge
  • 30.5475   -89.793889
    Recording TimeCode
  • 49:07 - 1:27:33
  • Stereo
    Sampling Rate
  • 48kHz
    Bit Depth
  • 16-bit
    Equipment Note
  • Lectrosonics 195 Series Wideband UHF Diversity Wireless System.

Show: Woodpeckers
Log of DAT #: 12
Engineer: Flawn Williams
Date: January 25, 2002

Placing ARUs 3 and 4 in Bogue Chitto
Split track DPAs Chris Clark/John Fitzpatrick

getting out of the boats.

1:42 Flawn
It's 1:36 in the afternoon, headed off for ARU site number 3.

2:23 FW
What's this section of the River called?

2:25 ?
Nancy's reach.

2:26 CJ
Nancy's reach.

2:42 JF
It's counter-intuitive. I would have guessed southwest would have been more that way.

3:20 JF
I just want to listen for a little while. That sounded like a woodpecker hit. Problem is, if that was a woodpecker hit there's only one kind it could have been.

3:44 JF
No, I heard a loud double knock.

3:56 JF
Did you hear it too Steve?

3:57 Steve

3:59 JF
Let's just listen for a minute.

listening, not quite silently

ambi. two GPS devices beeping, on either side. Some crunching under foot.

7:45 JF
Yup, Nancy's Lake.

8:19 ??
Now you know, we're counting on you to find place where there's a quarter mile circle with the best possible things

8:26 JF
Well, I'm a little spooked because I just thought I heard a--

8:29 ??
A double knock?

8:31 JF
Loud double woodpecker knock. Coming off in that direction. We wondered if it was you guys in the boat but ah¿(8:40)

rolling out the map, good map noises.

8:57 JF
This looks nice.

ambi, walking.

13:14 JF
This is nice, this is really nice.

more walking. Heading through the brier patch, struggling through. Occasional talk about the difficulty of the briers. They think about turning around at 25:00

26:01 CC
Brambles as far as you can see.

26:16 JF
Go north Chris.

29:21 CC
What do you think?

29:24 JF
I like it.

29:27 CC
(Singing) that's the way, uh-huh uh-huh, I like it, uh-huh uh-huh.

29:30 JF
I like it.

29:32 CC
(sings again)

29:35 JF
Cause one thing is, look where we are. We are in the deep boonies middle of this place right now. That's the little quebrada we're on here.

We're not this little thing are we?

29:58 JF
Possible. It doesn't really matter. I mean what we wanted to do was get in half a mile from the lake and we are .45; we're as close to that as we need to be. And the big question was, how's the woods. And the answer is: not bad.

30:19 CC
Not bad.

31:08 JF
.45. So, what do you think Chris, could we hear a woodpecker from the boat?

31:13 CC
Is anybody at the boat? They all came in?

31:19 JF
They all got lost half way.

31:20 CC
They're in the brier patch.

31:21 Nancy
Either that or gave up.

31:26 JF
I liked the woods back there even better than this. Problem is it's closer to the river.

31:58 CC
What do you say John?

32:01 JF
I say let's go here. Let's do it here. We'd here a bird calling from back in there. Especially as beautiful an afternoon as this.

getting the group together, finding out where they all are. Walking. Surveying the area to figure out where to put the ARU.

JF does his bard owl calls. Talks in between some of the calls.

more bard owl calls.

40:55 JF
This is all pretty good. This is easier to get in and out and there also seems to be a better sound corridor here.

41:14 CJ
So is the bard owl for fun or for profit?

41:16 JF
Well the bard owl is a really useful thing for censusing woodpeckers. They come in in all the north American woodpeckers I know come into bard owl hoots. Pretty quickly. They started making noise so they make themselves conspicuous. So actually a few weeks ago I was in here doing bard owl count censuses and got in one day 124 woodpeckers. There's high density woodpeckers in these wood. They sound off and we don't really know if the ivorybill did that but every other woodpecker did that so it's a safe assumption that the ivorybill did. Tanner did talk about mobbing big predators like red-shouldered hawks. So they probably did come in to bard owl hoots. Or at least sounding off--often pileateds don't actually come in, they just start hearing them call 2 or 300 meters away. [coming in is] It's a way of keeping track of where the predators are. It's a very common response of many birds. In fact you can hear around us titmice and chickadees sometimes start going scolding and coming in too. There's a downy just called, for example. So the woodpeckers are sort of filtering through the woods now to get to the sound and I've got to give them another call now to keep them juiced. (42:32)

bard owl calls

43:06 JF
So I confess that the fantasy does exist that among all of these sapsuckers and redbellied woodpeckers and occasional flickers that sound off suddenly we see a big thing swoop in here, an ivorybill close in just looking at it.

43:21 CJ
Is that when you fall to your knees?

43:23 JF
Yeah, that's when I fall to my knees in a blubbery mess. No, I try to maintain my composure, see everything I can about it and let myself collapse about it later. It's a fantasy every birdwatcher has.

42:43 CJ
And you get to live it.

43:46 JF
Yeah. I'm living it right now in a way. Lot of people have said actually the casual birders have come down to walk through for a day. It really is moving to just walk through the woods where you know there could be an ivorybill. And certainly knowing absolutely that we're walking through a woods where they used to be flying around. It's pretty neat. It's easy to imagine them here. We just walked by a beautiful 40 inch plus diameter water oak. There's a lot of good dead wood here. We're seeing woodpecker holes all around us here. We got a good response here from the bard owl. There are definitely woodpeckers in here. So it's a good a spot as any to stick up a pair of ears and listen for a month and a half.

44:35 CJ
Well it would be appropriate I guess if Cornell team were the team to find it again.

44:40 JF
It would be fun. We all agree, everyone who's down here says it does not matter to any of us which one of us finds it. We just want someone to find it. From my standpoint sure it would be fun to be the one to discover it. But I actually kind of hope somebody finds it by sight because getting a video and finding a nest hole would be a very useful thing right away. In fact we've talked about this process. During the next month if it happens that somebody finds one, particularly if they find a nest hole but if they just find a bird, we could convert immediately to doing biology with these devices instead of just detection. That's what we're doing now is we're sprinkling them as far and wide as we can through the woods hoping we can find the needle in the haystack. Of course it's a haystack where we don't even know for sure if there's a needle in it. But if we did get a positive from somewhere then we'd move the sound things closer in and actually start triangulating and learning about their home range and so on. So we can always come back and move these things. Right now we're just in full detection mode. These devices are incredibly useful for lots of things even at small scale. Putting a bunch of them in at small range¿there's the bard owl starting to call back at us.

46:06 CJ
you want to answer him?

JF gives bard owl call

46:37 JF
People in our bioacoustics lab at the Cornell lab of ornithology are using these devices at close range to triangulate on individual animals of a species like song sparrows or banded wrens in Costa Rica, parrots in Costa Rica, elephants in west Africa, to be able to track movements of animals that are very difficult to detect visually. Or you want to have long term permanent records of where they are and it's impractical to be there yourself for the whole time. So this acoustic monitoring has a huge potential application [human giving bard owl call in background] in biological research and conservation.

46:19 CJ
think that's one of your team?

47:21 JF
That's a human answering now. See if I can get him to respond again.

bard owl call and answer.

47:39 CC
All these owl wannabes!

48:01 CC
So Steve, we need you at a hundred meters!

48:06 JF
So we need to do the hundred meter count.

48:08 CC
With a GPS!

getting ready to place the ARU, discussions about the creek, rolling out the map again. Inside jokes, lots of laughter. Marking post, getting ready to run the 3 minute test.

JF bard owl call

team gets the go ahead for the three minute test.

bird calls in the distance, the test.

test ends.

CC announces GPS location.

1:01:42 JF
Okay gang, we're out.

ambi. Map rolling in the wind.

walking. Searching for the note pad which has gone missing. After a long and fruitless search they give up and decide to keep going back. Right track goes in and out. Left track has a lot of walking.

1:25:13 (??)
We were talking before about what would you guys do if you did find an ivorybill woodpecker? What would that do to the refuge?

1:25:25 JF
Well it would bring you fame and fortune.

1:25:26 (??)
No, that's not what I'm saying. I'm saying what impact would it have on public use?

1:25:33 JF
Well I think it would be hugely beneficial in a couple of different ways. Nobody I think here¿MICROPHONE CUTS OUT¿in the conservation community. The kind of public use these have been put to over the last 50 years, couldn't be better. Hunting, fishing, people enjoying the great outdoors by doing these things has been what made places like this stay good. So nobody¿and their has been some discussion in the kind of fantasy land that we find this bird¿nobody here would argue that we should stop that kind of use of the land. So what would happen is it would probably add a use. It would mean that the seasons needed to be guarded somewhat. For example, you might say during ah, this is making it up on the spot, during for example mid-February or whenever the bow season stops around here, first of February to the 31st of March, is the birdwatching season.

1:26:43 (??)
Nothing goes on here at that time anyway.

1:26:45 JF
Yeah, that's the time when concessionaires for example can take people in. It's literally true that there are thousands of people around the country that would pay ten thousand dollars a pop if you could take them and show them an ivorybill.

1:27:00 (??)
Why would we want to do that?

1:27:02 JF
Why would you want to do that?

1:27:04 (??)
Why would we want to let them do that?

1:27:07 JF
Same reason you'd want to let somebody come in and shoot a pig. I mean¿

1:27:08 (??)-interrupting
wouldn't that impact the bird?

1:27:09 JF
No, no you have to manage it in a way that it doesn't. You wouldn't for example I think want to let anybody within 500 meters of a nest tree. So what you've got to do is go somewhere where you know they use the land and sit. Let's put it this way, if there are ivorybills here they've been living for 50 years compatible with hunters and fishermen. And the absolute worst thing we could do is argue that we shouldn't let the people who live here do what they've been doing with the land. Because now they're enemies of the ivorybill. What we would imagine that the ideal is that they would become friends with the ivorybill, they want there to be ivorybills because for one thing they can make money off the ivorybills. You know the hotel where we're staying tonight?

1:27:56 (??)
yeah, if you say we have ivorybills here, let's get a concessionaire¿

1:28:02 JF
Well who knows how it would be. Maybe it would be you guys¿the point is, you wouldn't be able to stop, it being, of course, public land, you wouldn't be able to stop there being a pretty decent flood of people at least for the time being. What would happen is they would learn you don't just walk in and see an ivorybill. I mean we already know that even if they are here. You don't just happen in there and see an ivorybill. You've got to try. But I guarantee you, there would be a lot of people. I'm talking thousands, tens of thousands, who would say "honey, let's go down and spend a week in March and se if we can see that ivorybill. It's something I've always wanted to do." So they'd have to figure out how do to it. They'd have to stay in a motel, hire people to take them on boat rides¿

1:29:00 (??)
there wouldn't be 5000 people wanting to do that.

1:29:02 JF
Oh, there'd be hundreds of thousands of people wanting to do that. They wouldn't do it all at once. But the fact is that this bird is so, it's got a huge mystique about it. It's so popular in the bird watching world that if it turns out to be here, first of all you won't be able to keep it a secret. So you've got to use the secret instead of try to keep it. And the secret is, be educational with it. Have places where people can go to learn about it, see the thing, here's what we suggest, hire this guy or that guy that can tool you around to these places. So you just figure it out, how to build it into the management regime of this thing and it would become instantly one of the most famous bird watching places in North America. (Plane is going overhead) Whether that's good or bad is of course individual's opinions. But the fact is that is one of the major uses of wildlife refuges around the country today and it's growing incredibly fast as a use. So the idea of building the¿I mean this, frankly, I talked to Elizabeth about this a little bit last week that probably you might want to do this anyway: whether or not this is found on the search, this is a place that there's some possibility that they're still here, there'll be people for years that will come back here and want to do their own canoe camp and use the things. So it's a good thing for Bogue Chitto. Not that you needed to be put on a map because it's a great place already but boy, it sure has elevated the consciousness around the country of this refuge. And if the bird is found it will go through the roof.

1:30:45 (??)
Well, I'm just wondering about the increase.

1:30:48 JF
You're absolutely right to wonder about it and Atlanta's worried about it already. They're giving some thought to what it means if it's found because you definitely need to be on top of the human management deal. However, as I said, one thing we absolutely know, whether or not the bird is here, if it's here, they're not going to just drop in and see it. They're going to have to work pretty hard. So you know I think the community would be pretty excited to act as the world host of the ivorybill woodpecker.

1:31:27 (??)
There'd be woodpecker signs going up everywhere.

1:31:29 JF
Yeah that's right. Okay, we've got one more for sure. If we could do two we would, but one more for sure we have at the far end of Nancy's Reach so that's where we're headed now.

discussion of where to stop. Looking at map to determine stopping location. Loading into the boats to head out.

Boat engines starting up, stalling, finally going.

good steady boat motor sounds


Placement of ARU #3 and #4. Includes comments by unidentified people. Note that John Fitzpatrick and Christopher Clark are often separated by physical space and are not interacting with each other.

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