John Fitzpatrick, Chris Joyce
Placement of ARU #10. Includes unidentified voices.
Barred Owl imitations
Barred Owl imitations by John Fitzpatrick.
John Fitzpatrick reads Alexander Wilson's account of his experience with an Ivory-billed Woodpecker.
NPR/NGS Radio Expeditions
27 Jan 2002
LouisianaSt. Tammany County
- Bogue Chitto National Wildlife Refuge
- 30.5475 -89.793889
- 49:07 - 1:27:33
- SONY TCD-D8
DPA 4060 omni mics. Lectrosonics 195 Series Wideband UHF Diversity Wireless System.
Log of DAT #: 19
Engineer: Flawn Williams
Date: January 27th, 2002
2nd tape of Sunday morning, wireless.
Chris Joyce and John Fitzpatrick
Hear the distant pileated too? That's 3 pileated now. Let's just keep listening. 2 flickers. 3 flickers. Pileated display drum. Something piped up the woodpeckers all of a sudden. Redbellies calling, flickers.
Okay, let's do this water oak¿wimpy, 6'9. And the gum over here.
bard owl calls
(8:48 JF: hermit thrush)
(9:28 JF: what are there, three of em? Very distant pileated. Called a few times. Ooh, good drum of a pileated.)
(11:06: Got the flicker.)
Let's head back down there.
Estimated distance to the pileateds was 300 maybe, 400 maybe.
ambi, walking, feet crunching on dry ground.
Had some distant pileateds, both drumming and calling, flickers several different places, redbellies and sapsuckers. And I noted those so we can cross-reference. Those pileateds were like 300+ meters away, so if it picked those up it would be really good.
So if I understand it correctly, your hooting is supposed to bring down the birds and then when they call they're trying to see if they can pick up those calls on the microphone to calibrate the microphone.
Right. As we open this up it's not going to start its full recordings until tomorrow but it's going to have this 8 minute segment of recorded sound. And we've been doing some standardized playing and things. This time we just said let's pick up the woodpecker sounds we can make call in the woods.
But is it to calibrate the sensitivity?
Yeah, right. Yeah, it's to give us a sense when we're back in the lab that right off the bat this thing was recording birds and it was picking them up at 100, 200 meters away. Yeah, calibration. Yesterday we were doing much more standardized ones. We don't happen to have that tool with us right now. So we said let's get some natural woodpeckers instead.
I would like you to read something with feeling.
Alexander Wilson's description of taking one back to his hotel. It's only a little over a page.
"The first place I observed this bird at, when on my way to the south, was about 12 miles north of Wilmington---
This is Alexander Wilson talking.
"The first place I observed this bird at, when on my way to the south¿
This is Alexander Wilson talking.
"The first place I observed this bird at, when on my way to the south, was about 12 miles north of Wilmington, North Carolina. There I found the bird from which my drawing was taken. This bird was only wounded slightly in the wing and on being caught uttered a loudly reiterated and most piteous note, exactly resembling the violent crying of a young child, which terrified my horse so as nearly to have cost me my life. It was distressing to hear it. I carried it with me in the chair, undercover to Wilmington. In passing though the streets its affected cries surprised everyone within hearing, particularly the females, who hurried to the doors and windows with looks of alarm and anxiety. I drove on, and on arriving at the piazza of the hotel where I intended to put up the landlord came forward and a number of other persons who happened to be there, all equally alarmed¿"
plane going by
It was distressing to hear it. I carried it with me in the chair, undercover to Wilmington. In passing though the streets its affecting cries surprised everyone within hearing, particularly the females, who hurried to the doors and windows with looks of alarm and anxiety. I drove on, and on arriving at the piazza of the hotel where I intended to put up the landlord came forward and a number of other persons who happened to be there, all equally alarmed at what they heard. This was greatly increased by my asking whether he could furnish me with accommodations for myself and my baby. The man looked blank and foolish while the others stared with still greater astonishment. After diverting myself for a minute or two at their expense, I drew my woodpecker from under the cover and a general laugh took place. I took him upstairs and locked him up in my room while I went to see my horse taken care of. In less than an hour I returned. And on opening the door he set up the same distressing shout which now appeared to proceed from grief that he had been discovered in his attempts at escape. He had mounted along the side of the window, nearly as high at the ceiling a little below which he had begun to break through. The bed was covered with large pieces of plaster. The lathe was exposed for at least 15 inches square. And a whole large enough to admit the fist opened to the weathered boards. So that in less than another hour he would certainly have succeeded in making his way through. I now tied a string round his leg and, fastening it to the table, again left him. I wished to preserve his life and had gone off in search of suitable food for him. As I re-ascended the stairs I heard him again, hard at work. And on entering had the mortification to perceive that he had almost entirely ruined the mahogany table to which he was fastened and on which he had wrecked his whole vengeance¿
As I re-ascended the stairs I heard him again, hard at work, and on entering had the mortification to perceive that he had almost entirely ruined the mahogany table to which he was fastened and on which he had wreaked his whole vengeance. While engaged in taking the drawing he cut me severely in several places and on the whole displayed such a noble and unconquerable spirit that I was frequently tempted to restore him to his native woods. He lived with me nearly three days but refused all sustenance. And I witnessed his death with regret.
Great. Thank you. You could have a career in radio.
group thinks they have heard a woodpecker drumming. Flawn rolls the tape back to see if he can hear it, doesn't hear anything.
I'm going to imitate the campephilus sound. Did you hear it down there? It's too fast to imitate with one hand. [imitates sound on a log] That's the way it sounds, loud.
static on rt. wireless, then no sound.
What I heard was a double knock on a really hollow tree, about the same distance out as where we were hearing the pileated woodpeckers, which is probably 400 meters or so.
And the only bird that makes a double knock is the ivorybill woodpecker, in this territory?
In this area yeah. It only occurred one time. And..
And your eyes got big.
all of our eyes got big. And we all recognized this as something different.
So you've got your ARU in a good place maybe.
Rt. wireless sound returns.
37:10 left wireless out.
37:20 left wireless back in.
I think the road's up there. If there's a road there it's easier walking.
38:08 Flawn getting ambience.
Hang on a second. If we think there's any chance this is real, we ought to try this out a couple of times. Duh-duh. About as fast as you can do it.
And the idea here is, before you do it tell me what you're going to do.
Well, Tanner talked about being able to actually raise the birds up and have them respond. Particularly they would double-thump back at him when he would do this sometimes.
FX:Thump-thump. JF thumps on a tree.
Not hollow enough. No carry to that. We need to find a hollow tree somewhere. We need a hollow tree. Did you guys all agree on a localized direction? Okay, let's stop then.
FX: thump thump.
ambi, listening for response
Is that what you heard? You sure? That's the firing range.
background voices¿no, wrong direction too.
FX loud thump thump.
FX loud bird call
There's a big woodpecker working down there somewhere.
Little closer together when you do it
Well, that's where we're headed, right? Sort of into the sun here, right now? A little left? Want to see if we can tell what that woodpecker working down there is? We do have two more ARUs to put in today.
Let's listen for a second. If we can still here that woodpecker working it would be interesting to find it.
You getting some pounding? You want to follow the road a little bit?
So we're going 90 degrees off here. I think we just have to rely on the ARU. If there's an ivorybill here we're going to get it from the machine. We're not going to sneak 6 people up on it.
Well, that's probably about as close as we probably will come to an ivorybill woodpecker. A tantalizing hint. A sound maybe. A double rap. And a bit of forest that looks pretty good for woodpeckers. That's the way ornithologists work, on hint and a fragment of information. And let the electronics do the rest of the work and hope for the best. 46:20
ambi, walking through underbrush. Some distant bird calls. Snapping twigs.
Yeah, probably was a pileated sound.
So we upset a pileated right about where your direction was, right?
ambi, walking. Lots of stumbling through rougher terrain on rt. wireless.
Coming up to one of the smaller slues.
Try your double-knock stick on this thing. Will that resonate?
FX¿chris takes a whiz.
FX thump thump
Our first Hairy woodpecker
Pileated drumming down there.
This stick sucks.
That's a pileated.
Plane flying overhead.
The funny thing is, that first double knock, a woodpecker flies across. But we're hearing pileated's everywhere. ARU will tell. If it's here, we'll get it.
ambi, walking through deep water. With conversations too
(with sloshing sounds of walking) Now, on the way back, we're walking on an old logging road. It's been flooded, but at least it's firm afoot, not too deep. (out of sloshing.)
What's that clacking?
FX bard owl calls
taking map out of tube, rolling out map.
(1:08:00-1:25:57: walking back, occasional conversation, checking for Flawn etc., crossing through water again around 1:21, fiddling with GPS, background owl calls)
Well, that was a successful installation of ARU number 10. Took about 2½ , 3 hours. We're in the middle of the reserve, walking back to our cars.
What do you think John, for ARU number 10?
I think it's a pretty good spot. It was more of a pain to get into than it was to get out of. But the place we found I think is beautiful. Big old 500 year old cypress in there. And some great forest on the other side of the flow. We actually had a double knock that we still don't have explained. Steve is convinced that we're on to something there. The ARU will tell.
You're not convinced.
Well I didn't hear the noise, so I can't judge for myself. All three of those guys sure heard it. They definitely heard a double knock; all three of them corroborate that. We did get responses by the pileateds to the double knock, which is interesting. A couple of different times we had a pileated sound off directly after the knock.
Would that suggest that it's used to hearing the knock?
I don't know. Or maybe it suggests that it interprets that double knock as the beginning of a pileated's display. You know they start that display with a particularly loud pound or two and then it trails off. So they could be just responding to it as a crude example of their own display. Hard to say. But if there's an ivorybill back there displaying, he'll do it again sometime in the next 60 days, so we'll get him. I like the spot where we got to, having walked through all that crummy stuff we got to a nice piece of woods. That ARU number 10 is only 1 kilometer from the fountain. So that's obviously the way to get the job done when we come back. And we don't have to get up to our boxers.
back at cars. Opening the car doors.
Group moving on, Flawn and Chris heading back.
1:33:15 rt. wireless stopdown
1:33:51 lft. wireless stopdown
Placement of ARU #10.