David Luneau, John Fitzpatrick
Ivory-billed Woodpecker video analysis
Martjan Lamertink, Scott Simon
Ivory-billed Woodpecker habitat
History of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker search
NPR/NGS Radio Expeditions
26 Jan 2005
- Dagmar State Wildlife Management Area
- 34.888 -91.318
NPR/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC RADIO EXPEDITIONS
DAT #2 January 26, 2005
Begins with chatter between all the searchers and Chris and Bill set up. Photos being taken until 7:10
7:19 Elliott Swarthout: So, the plan for tomorrow, Catherine and Lauren are going to deploy ARU's in Blue Hole, put two out there, and one south of Blue Hole at the power line, and Sean, you're going to be in the boom, Sean: The Boom! Boom Man, You'll be up there in the morning and then doing the power line in the afternoon.
I think these guys want to get up there at some point in the afternoon, and the film crew as well. Let's see Matt and Jared, we'll play it by ear if you're going to go out tomorrow, if you're sick, just let me know......OK, I'll send Sarah and Nick to do that, going into the pines
on the east side of the power lines, I'd like to start doing some transects in there. Casey and Jim G, you guys will be going into Dagmar, northwest Dagmar, planting some transects,
Julie, you're here at the house. We're going to set the data base up.
What's the weather report for tomorrow - rain, low 40s.
Sara Barker: Question about transects: Our transects tomorrow through the pines. Do you want us to just try to cover the entire area. Yeah. Looks kind of promising, there's a lot of trees out there. It's dense. and I have maps for you all. So I heard it was wet out there for the walkers.
What time in the morning? Leaving at 8 again.
11:00: Let's do vehicles too.......
Chit chat until 13:00 good, that's all I have for tomorrow
13:43: Alright, let's go [in the other room] [Still inside - going to show the video]
18:05 [?] Okay. Before we get things rolling. I want to say that a lot of you guys have kept a secret along with me for awhile, and I want to just let everyone know that I really appreciate that. David is going to show his special video. I just want to make sure that no one is ever accusing me of holding footage back of Elvis, and so I've had a special footage I've been able to acquire of Elvis.
Scott: Go around the room and introduce yourselves....and then check in about schedule
19:36: I'm Tim Barksdale. I own Birdman Productions, and I work a lot with the Lab of Ornithology.
I'm Jim Fitzpatrick. I'm a volunteer here. I was one of the lucky ones, in the right place at the right time.
I'm Martjan Lammertink from the Netherlands, part of the Pearl Search, and many other large woodpecker projects.
I'm Bobby Harrison, I'm associate professor of Art and Photography at Oakwood College. I've been at this for 11 months now.
I'm David Brown. I'm with the Lab of Ornithology. This is my second trip down here.
Jim Goetz, Lab of Ornithology, same thing, second trip.
I'm Elliott Swarthout, Lab of Ornithology. I'm running the field crew here at Bayou DeView.
I'm Sara Barker, with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, and I'm project coordinator for Arkansas.
I'm Tim Gallagher. I'm with the Lab of Ornithology, editor of Living Bird Magazine, and I've down here many times, and I've had one sighting.
I'm Casey Taylor. I'm Catherine, part of the field crew.....
I'm Mootami [sp]. I'm from Indonesia, from Borneo. I've been her for two months. I've worked for a woodpecker project in Borneo.
I'm Scott Simon, from the Nature Conservancy, State Director for the Arkansas chapter.
I'm John Fitzpatrick, Director of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, and I'm really glad we have someone from Borneo working on this project.
I'm Julie from Vermont on the field crew. I'm Jay Harred, TNC media relations.
I'm Chris Joyce, NPR, Science desk, RE, and I'm really grateful I can be here right now and not anywhere else on the planet.
I'm Matt Sarber, former Cornell biology student, on the field crew here.
I'm Lauren Morgans, former Cornell student. I came down for a week last April, and I'm back full time on the field crews now.
I'm Gene Sparling from Hot Springs, Arkansas.
I'm Nancy DeLamar. I work for the Nature Conservancy in Arkansas, and I've been at this for 21 years. this is the best spot to be on the planet.'
I'm Cindy Ostertag [sp!!!!] from Wilson, Wyoming, and I'm working with Cornell, and the TNC on a video project.
I'm Marc Dantzker, and I'm working with Cornell Lab of Ornithology, curator.
I'm David Luneau from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. I'm associate professor
of Electronics and Computer Engineering Technology, and part-time ivory bill searcher, full time right now.
I'm Nick Meyer, Sean O'Brian.
Bill McQuay, Technical Director for Radio Expeditions
SS: We're really appreciate you both being here, helping us tell a world class story.23:50
24:00 -Video and slide show -
DL: David: What I am going to show you now is video we shot April 25, 2004. It was taken in the Bayou DeView area. I was with my brother-in-law, Robert Henderson, who happens to be the major part of this particular video. Unfortunately, the camera was pointed directly at him. He was sitting in the front of the canoe, he was turned around towards me, because we had been out looking, trying to find ivory billed woodpeckers, but we were also checking some motion detection cameras I had out in the field. We had just left one a couple 100 meters down the channel, and we were pulling up on another one, and if you listen carefully to the sound., you'll hear me say I see the cameras...I had a Canon GL2 video camera running all the time, had a bunch of batters to run it all day. I had it running when we saw a large woodpecker fly off a tree, and fortunately, it was running, because we didn't have time to pick up the camera and point it at anything, but it managed to catch in the lower left hand corner of the video, it managed to catch this bird flying off the tree.
JF: So he question is what is the bird.
DL: Okay, there it went. How long was it visible. Maybe three seconds or so. [Run it again]
JF: What we saw there was very important stuff. We saw a bird taking off from the side of a tree. [remiked by Bill to say the same thing again] Clearly a woodpecker, it wasn't a duck.
We saw very rapid, steady, unvarying speed, wing beats, in fact there are 12 full flaps before the bird disappears behind that first tree. Very fast wing beats. Most important we saw in the little clip huge amounts of white on both wings, lots of white.
DL: [off mic] That little white speck on the tree, with a little black above, a little black below, just as it disappears...
JF: That is not on that tree now. It wasn't on it the next week when I went back out to check.
And it turns out that it's the same tree that our bird flies off of, in just a minute,
CJ: Fitz, did you analyze this back in the lab?
JF: We have quite a bit more analysis of this coming up.
JF: I worship this video.
DL: [?] So Mark at the Cornell Labs took the video and did various things to it. Slowed it down to half speed, to quarter speed, zoomed it in to 2x and 4x as you'll see in the next 5 minutes of video. You're able to see the motion of the woodpecker a lot better, able to see it stretched out quite a bit.
JF: This starts to get pretty good. See that white on that wing.
See the black below and above.
We've done a lot of reenactments of this.
CJ: What is it about the flight pattern that tips it off?
JF: Irrespective of the color of the bird, the bird is going absolutely steady.....bp, bp, bp....like a fast flying direct flying bird, it's flying away like a duck would. He barely loses any elevation at all. And a piliated does not take off from tree trunks like that.
Look at the white in the back there, between the two wings.
We're at 4x zoom and 1/8th speed. This is as big and as slow as we've got it.
CJ: How many times have you looked at this?
JF: Maybe a thousand, I don't know, a lot.
We have it now with all the frames separated, so we can study individual frames.
[The wings] Look from the body all the way out.....every flap, you can see how much white there is at the back end of the wing. The next three flaps are really important. Now we're starting to see the top of the wing, watch how much white there is between the wings, the piliated has a jet black back. No white on the back. Big glowing of white on the back.
Another important frame coming up. See the black leading edge of the entire wing, there's the classic picture of the ivory bill wing with the black coming all the way up the leading edge, and the white coming all the way back the trailing edge.
CJ: At this point David, did you know what you had seen?
DL: No, unquestionably no, Robert and I both, I asked him, did you see the white in that bird's wings, and he said yes, but I'd like to see it again.....checked the video, took it out, and popped another one in, watch it on the big screen at home.... several days before I decided I would show it someone else....
CJ: At the time, thinking, maybe piliated......
DL: Just another unidentified woodpecker, maybe 1 in 100 chance I've got something here.
impossible to draw any conclusion.
CJ: At what point did you come to the conclusion that it was probably the ivory bill.
DL: I'm still coming to that conclusion, a little more every day.
It was a slow process. It was a gradual elimination of other possibilities. At this point, my take on it is it's much easier to explain that video as an ivory bill. It fits all the characteristics of an ivory bill. It fits no characteristics of other birds.
JF: I will mention that the Lab of Ornithology, several of us flew to David's house, blown away by this video. He graciously agreed to give us a copy to do some analyses. We've shown it to quite a lot of people, what else could this be.... As the months have gone by as this story has unfolded and we've brought more and more colleagues in, we've had occasion to show it to quite a few people who know birds very well, and we've asked people to open your mind to what this could be. What else could this be - worldwide. Somebody's zoo bird got away. I have not done that with any professional ornithologist who has not come to the same conclusion. This is an ivory billed woodpecker in this screen.
CJ: And how many ornithologists have you posed this question to?
JF: Probably 15. This is an exciting video. We've been investing a lot of money, a lot of people's time, a lot of donor's engagements, potentially a lot of government time. There's a lot at stake in this thing. So the last thing that I or anybody else here wants to do is to put forward a story that turns out to be fake. Not fake, but turns out to be too much wishing and too little fact. So getting the facts right is always the most important step from the standpoint of science and the Lab....
CJ: I assume you've all considered what the consequence would be if this didn't turn out to be true, what that would do - after Pearl River - to public attitudes about the search.
DL: This video was done probably after ten very reliable sightings. This is just a piece of hard evidence. Before this point we were convinced the bird was there, based on very reliable sightings, from very reliable sighters. You can't go to the public and say we've seen it and expect them to believe you, so having some piece of hard evidence on a bird like this is very important.....
JF: By the time April 25th that he got this, we'd had a series of really credible descriptions of the bird by people who knew what they should be seeing and have seen a lot of the birds that they could be confusing it.....beginning with Gene's and a huge one was the close range look that Tim and Bobby got, so we went into this with the strong sense that we kinda knew that it was there. 48:59
GS: [off mic] This video is also great evidence of why it's been so difficult to get that picture. that's very typical of the sightings we've had. Barely time to get a camera up.....
JF: We haven't even done the fun thing with this video....back it up
DL: Keep your eye on the left side of the tree, and there you got a wing, white showing on the wing, right when it's ready to take off.....
[+ more frame by frame review]
CJ: What's the oldest it could be.
JF: Conjecture. Piliateds live 15 -16-17 years. And this bird probably lived at least that long and maybe a year or two longer, so by its size probably 20 years would be the maximum age of an ivory bill. So if we assume that's true, and reached it's maximum age.
So if we assume we assume it reached it's maximum age 20 years, born 1984, which is well after most people had written this bird off as probably extinct. So this bird was born in the 80s and 90s, probably. If this is the last of its kind, that would be an amazing coincidence that we had an encounter with the bird towards the end of its life, the last individual of its kind in the middle of the woods. Much more likely is that there is a small population. [56:35]
CJ: Rumor has it that this might not be the only population.
JF: Well that's the big part of the story. There have been reports and there.
Talk with Tim Gallagher who's gone through reports. Consistent with the idea that there are lingering individuals and small populations that are going undetected because of the behavior of this bird is showing.
JF: Skiddish, quiet. Really good at staying away from people.
[?] In 11 months, we've had maybe 11 sightings with a lot of people out....
JF: Remember to that even in its prime this bird had home ranges of 6-10, 6-20 square miles. This bird was really thinly distributed.
CJ: Given the size of the habitat here, how much of a population could you even support anyway, if this is not the only individual, and this becomes the place.
AMBI to use with all that's preceded when the projector is on: 1:00:05 - 1:00:45
CJ: Say who you are and what you do.
ML: My name is Martjan Lamertink. I've worked on the ecology of large woodpeckers,
mostly for the Zoological Museum in Amsterdam, but recently for Cornell Lab of Ornithology. I've worked with black woodpeckers, etc. done a lot of searching for Imperial woodpeckers in Mexico, and ivory bills in Cuba and the US. So the question is how many might there be in Arkansas. In prime habitat, when ? studied the density one home range, one pair, one family group in six square miles of primary forest, we assume that now because this forest where it lives in is not primary forest, but is kind of regenerating forest, it may need at least twice that amount of habitat, and then in the area where it has been seen and filmed in Bayou DeView, that would be too small for even one home range, but it links up with Dagmar, which is a larger area, and Dagmar and Bayou DeView combined would be a big enough maybe for only one or two home ranges. South of there, with the White River Refuge, and that's one of the biggest areas of hardwood lowland forests left in the U.S. We're not exactly clear yet how much of that has the right forest composition for this bird, and actually what is the forest composition that it needs, but given the amount of habitat down there, there could easily be 10 or 12 home ranges there.
CJ: Enough range for 10 or 12 more birds.
ML: Yes, but no evidence, just habitat.
CJ: In terms of the future, if indeed there's more than one, enough for breeding. You wouldn't move em, have you got enough habitat to maintain a viable population?
ML: If you allowed the habitat to regenerate and become more suitable for these birds, then the densities would go up in the same amount of area you would be able to harbor larger numbers.
CJ: How much do you need to secure. You're working under the assumption that there's one bird, maybe more, and it's going to have to stay here, because God forbid, you find the bird, you've rewritten history, and then it dies.
That would be sad. You have to provide a place for this population to survive. so how much do you need?
SS: Well, the beauty of this story is that it's just a chapter in a long conservation history.
There are currently about 550,000 acres of bottomland hardwood swamps and 70 different forest types. The long term 30 year goal is to conserve and restore about and additional 300,000 acres, which is about what we think is required to maintain habitat for many of the birds and other species that need the large blocks of bottomland hardwoods. Things like swallowtail kites, cerulean warblers, the black bears, so the ivory bill is just another species that's one the targets for conservation of this ecosystem. Of the 300,000 acres, there about 200,000 acres in the north end, 180,000 acres in the north end, 100,000 acres in the south end, 20,000 in the middle which really completes a lot of the desired habitat. What's interesting about this is that of the 550,000 acres, many areas are not contiguous. They're separated by agricultural fields and marginal farmland. And so a key part of the conservation strategy for all partners is to restore those restore those marginal farmlands back to bottomland hardwoods and swamps, and very quickly you all of a sudden have access to an additional 20,000 acres that's currently fragmented, and by creating those corridors, you
functionally increase the potential habitat for all the rare species and the ivory bill in ten years, that's the plan. 1:08:08
[technical blips, so Bill asks Scott to say it again]
SS: Scott repeats it all again quite succinctly and boldly to 1:12:97
Bobby's video. JF: this one does not have universal agreement on what it is or shows, but it's worth looking at. The exciting thing about David's is that three isn't anyone who's knowledgeable about what the bird should look like in the field has seen this has disputed the identification of it, or believes it's still subject to doubt.
ND: The TNC opened its office ion Arkansas in 1983, at that the Conservancy was busily opening offices in each of the states and marching through the South, and the Arkansas program wasn't the last, but it was in that range of one of the last to open. And there had been a lot of battles in Arkansas to protect natural resources, and one of the battles that had been fought was the battle to save the Cache River. So when the Conservancy opened its office, there was already a constituency for the wetlands of the delta. There were a group of people who had already invested huge amounts to go against conventional wisdom to save the resource that was there. Some of the first steps that TNC took then when the office opened was to begin working in the delta of Arkansas. We didn't really know very much about the resource that was here, but there was an intuitive feeling that because it was such a diminishing resource and it was disappearing faster than we could protect it, that to invest in the delta would be an incredibly worthy for the Conservancy to make its mark but also to put its resources. Arkansas could be classified as a low resource state in terms of money. So what we had was an incredibly rich ecosystem in which we live, but the financial resources were limited. So the technique that we employed at the time was pretty opportunistic. We moved as fast as we could into the areas where we thought we could do the most good and started working with willing land owners to acquire their lands to protect the bottomland hardwoods, so that went along for awhile. We acquired the first piece of property that established the Cache River National Wildlife Refuge. And we had a senior Senator at that time, Sen. Dale Bumpers, and he was a great ally to the Conservancy and the resource. After a few years, we managed to acquire a property for $350 an acre which was considerably less than for an acre these days, that began a process of acquisition of lands in the delta. [1:16:54]
In the late 80s, we decided in typical Conservancy fashion, we really needed more scientific guidance to govern our choices, and so we employed some scientists to conduct and ecological assessment of the bottomland hardwoods of the Arkansas delta. And that report came back with the words which became written on my brain, and it was The woods of the Arkansas delta are an ecosystem of global importance, a jewel in the crown of North America and worthy of conservation. [1:17:30] So armed with that news we really turned many of the resources of the office and the organization toward the delta of Arkansas. We engaged in compatible economic development with small towns in the delta. We started aggressively trying to raise money from foundations and individuals outside the state to help us acquire land. We worked closely with Fish and Wildlife, and the Arkansas Fish and Game Commission to set lands aside, so that natural consistency that was here when we started stayed with us through that process. So I think that now being able to look at a 500,000 acre resource as opposed to the 250,000 acre that it was when we started gives you hope that the work within your all's lifetime and mine as well have possibly created the opportunity for this incredibly elusive species to still be here. And not only is it possible that it is still here and probable, but there is also now in the pipeline enough habitat that the chances of it surviving the next generation are I think really good. There's a terrific conservation wisdom that I think is demonstrated by this project, and that it should come to this, the efforts that went into it were simply to protect the function of a wetland ecosystem, and if the true function of it includes habitat for this species, it so confirms the approach of land conservation. And you all should feel so proud of what you're doing, because there are so few opportunities on the face of the earth to participate in something like this, certainly for me is a great opportunity...[I thank you] [1:19:36]
CJ: So this is September 4, 2004. That's a great shot.
Bobby: [1:21:26 - 1:40:08] [I decided not to log it, because I already logged your trip with Bobby up the river on the next DAT]
Interview with Tim Gallagher [outside after the videos were shown.
1:42:08 - 1:59:31 + Ambi
TG: I'm Tim Gallagher from the Lab of Ornithology in Ithaca, New York. I'm the Editor of Living Bird Magazine. I've been interested in ivory bills since the early '70s.I read a LIFE magazine article then about John Dennis's work in east Texas in the Big Thicket. And it was exciting to me that they had found this bird that they thought was extinct for so long. But then, this was another of these reports where people started looking at it and saying it probably was an ivory bill, probably didn't have anything there [?]. This has been a pattern since the 1940s. The last universally accepted sighting was by Don Ekkleberry in about 1944, and about that anyone who has come with a sighting, you're immediately branded as a crackpot or something. That's a disappointment to me, because I believe that science should look at something with a blank slate and not have any preconceived judgments, and that's not the case with the ivory bill. It's been like seeing a UFO or Big Foot.
CJ: Maybe partly the reason could be that sometimes even scientists want to see something so much, they're has human as anyone else, they become more credulous than they should be.
TG: That's right. A person like John Dennis. He found a nest of ivory bills in Cuba in 1948 and photographed it and wrote an article in AUK, so if anyone knew what an ivory bill looked like and sounded like, it would be him.
CJ: You're one of the 12 people who have seen the ivory bill here in Arkansas.
TG: I'm actually just completing a book that I had already started before that for Houghton Mifflin, and several years ago I decided I wanted to talk with as many people as I could find who had seen the ivory bill. A lot of these people are very elderly, and I really wanted to talk with these people. And I also wanted to talk with the ones who people didn't believe and go to their places, go to the swamps. I talked with Nancy Tanner, James Tanner's widow several times. I've gotten to be good friends with her. There were two photographs taken in 1971that George Lowry brought to the meeting that year that people said was a hoax, and I always wondered about that. The person who gave them to him didn't want to say where they were taken, because he didn't want the Feds coming and shutting down his hunting area. He was interested in the birds. That was sort of dismissed all these years. I tracked down the person who took the pictures and interviewed him, and he seemed quite credible. He took me to the place where he had seen the birds, it was an area where salt water incursion had killed a lot of the big cypresses, and it seemed to make a lot of sense. There had been a lot of food available for these birds, which some believe are quite nomadic and are a disaster species attracted to places like that. They'll fly miles and move into an area where there's a lot of food for them, dying trees.
CJ: But then when this report came from Gene, was it you, one of the two people who came down?
1:46:04. TG: Yah, Bobby Harrison and me. We'd already been down here to the White River recently about three weeks before that sighting. David Luneau, I knew him too, there's a loose group of ivory bill searchers, and we keep in touch with each other. So we were very interested in this area anyway. So when Gene, someone forwarded me this e-mail he had written on a list serve for a canoe club describing this beautiful area, somewhere in the eighth or ninth paragraph he mentioned this unusual piliated woodpecker he'd seen, and I called him up and grilled him about it. Everything he said, said ivory bill. And I talked with bobby who called him also. And we went down there the next week with Gene. He even borrowed a canoe from his parents for us to use. He's an amazing guy. He's so silent going through the woods in his kayak. He just blends in, he'll get out of the stream a little bit off to the side, otters playing and wood ducks, a lot of times he was a 100, 200 feet ahead of us. We'd come along, maybe flush wood ducks 80 feet ahead of us, he'd be 10' feet from'em. He was amazing. We planned to spend a week floating Bayou DeView with him, examining the sighting area he'd had. And the middle of the second day, he'd gone up ahead to look for a place where we could have lunch, it was about 1:15 in the afternoon, we spotted this bird coming up the slough, there was an open area in front of us that flew out of deep woods across the channel in front of us, maybe 70 feet, in good light we just saw classic ivory bill view, white to the trailing edge. And I shouted, it was going to land on a tree, I said look at all the white on its wings. And we both said simultaneously ivory bill, and of course it veered off and it flew deeper into the woods. And he was paddling off to the side, and I was pointing to it, and I didn't see it hitch, but it would go to the middle of a tree, these tupelos and disappear behind for three seconds, and I saw that about 3 or 4 times.
CJ: It was aware of you. Yeah, because I shouted. It had seen us anyway. We got over to the side. By that time we had our camcorders running, and it was just like muck and mire, and brush and climbing over logs, we got out of the canoe, it was incredible, it was this weird emotional, almost religious experience. 15 minutes later Bobby sat down on a log and said I saw an ivory bill woodpecker, I saw an ivory bill woodpecker. And he was crying, tears running his face, I just still remember that moment [1:50:08]
CJ: And what were you thinking?
TG: Oh my god, I've seen an ivory bill woodpecker. In your life, you always, if you're searching for these birds, maybe it could happen, but no, we were evaluating this habitat...but then we saw it, but then that was nothing, our word is nothing, so many people have been discredited, their careers ruined, so I said we have to prove this. So we stayed in that area several more days. I couldn't even sleep at night. I was thinking about telling the Director of the Lab, John Fitzpatrick about it, what's that going to be like, I'm sure I've seen Big Foot or something. So I finally got back to work not having found it again, not having the video. We were sitting by possible roost holes until it got dark just hoping it would show up, and it never did. I didn't get home until about 3:00 o'clock in the morning, went in the next morning to talk to John Fitzpatrick, and I said you'll think I crossed over into the crackpot zone or something, but I'm absolutely certain I saw an ivory bill woodpecker. He just looked at me. He was in shock. He wanted me to tell him the whole story. I told him about the kayaker, Gene Sparkling. I said I wish I could say I'm pretty sure I saw an ivory bill, but it would have been a lie. I couldn't see that it could be anything else. Even a weirdly marked piliated, it didn't fly like one. This was a different animal. The black was blacker, the white was whiter, the way it flew, direct, powerful. It was a different animal, I'd never seen before.
CJ: You're all working off of descriptions. No one living has really ever seen an ivory bill...
TG: There are some, Nancy Tanner.
CJ: It's not like, you go out in the woods and tell it's a piliated, because you've seen lots of piliated before.
TG: I can tell what isn't a piliated, and I can say well what else could this be, and I'm familiar with the birds of North America, well, what else could this be.
CJ: the process of elimination.
TG: Right, it's like Jim Fitzpatrick, John's brother. He had a really good sighting in early April. His attitude is well, if it's not an ivory bill, I want to know what it is.
CJ: So now this is a big crowd of people down here looking for it. Obviously everybody wants to see it. For clearer scientific reasons, is it that the more observers there are, the stronger the case is. There are those who have seen it and those who have not. How do you relate to one another?
TG: It's funny, most of them believe it's real and respect our judgment. I remember one person who was skeptical about it Mindy Lebranch, and she got a PhD working with red cockaded woodpeckers, and she came down really not expecting to see it, it's an interesting project, I'd like to spend some more time in the South. And she had a pretty good sighting, and she just couldn't believe it. She finally said she was 99% sure it was an ivory bill. And I said what's the one percent, and she just snapped right back, because I was totally convinced they were extinct.
CJ: Do you still have that 1%?
TG: No, I never did. I said I was sure. I've looked at hundreds of their skins, but they do them justice. This is a really beautiful bird, more so than I had thought.
CJ: Is it hard not being able to tell people about it?
TG: Yes, it's really hard. I don't know how my friends will react. I 've had to be really evasive. I told my wife right away. Not too many other people. It was decided right away to keep this quiet.
This whole thing is amazing. I've come to really love the bottomland swamp forests, and I think that it's the most neglected habitat in North America. At a time when we're saving Yosemite and Yellowstone, they never even thought about that. 1910 they cut a billion board feet of cypress in the Atchafalaya Swamp of Louisiana alone [1:57:00], and that went for year after year, after year. They had local crews cutting trees out there, they loved the forest, hunters, they had no idea there were others, 1930 it was gone, the ? was just clear-cut, and it had those huge cypresses, 10, 11 feet across. 1941 they tried to save the Singer tract in Louisiana, a primeval forest had panthers, and wolves. I've talked to people who were children back then, just what a wonderful place it was. One guy said he'd never been back since they cut it down. I would have loved my children to see that. Teddy Roosevelt when he went there in 1907 to hunt bears he saw some ivory bills, that was the best part of the trip, to see trees like this, you'd have to go as far away as the giant redwoods, and they just cut 'em down. I'd like to think that my great grandchildren would be able to see some woods like that, because of some of the things we're doing here. That's my dream
CJ: The ivory bill is kind of the charismatic species that will drive people or force people to say okay, we've got to save habit.
TG: It's so iconic, it's a symbol of everything we've lost there really. And really what got me back strongly on this. I'd gone to east Texas looking way back in the 70s, David Coliven's [sp] sighting, I think everyone who really loved the ivory bill, it was just like a sigh of relief, a hope, we might be able to save the species, there was a pair of them out there, and it was just so exciting, and when they didn't find anything, personally I was not ready to let go of that dream. I was more determined than ever to talk to as many people as possible, investigate as many sightings as possible and try to find it. [1:59:30]
2:00:00 - 2:01:10 ****AMBI for interview with Tim Gallagher
[Bill: That's the best sound we got all night]