You can help in the search for Elvis!

The Big Woods Birding Opportunities website is designed to share information on how you can assist in the search for the Ivory-billed Woodpecker. In addition to providing general information on the elements of a successful outing, you will be able to view and print maps of recommended specific hiking trails and canoe access points. The information and maps are designed to be compatible with ongoing research along with management objectives of the various agency lands involved. You will also be able to print instructions and forms for reporting an Ivory-billed Woodpecker observation in addition to all of your bird observations.

The “Big Woods” of Arkansas is the corridor of bottomland hardwood forest along the lower White River and its tributaries Cache River and Bayou De View, the lower Arkansas River, and the Mississippi River near the mouths of the White and Arkansas Rivers. At approximately 500,000 acres, it is the largest block of forest remaining in the northern Mississippi Alluvial Valley or “Delta”, but is only a small remnant of the original 8,000,000 acres of forest in the Arkansas Delta alone.

The forest area under conservation management in the Big Woods has been drastically expanded during the past 30 years and the story of this conservation effort is remarkable. Further conservation is underway led by a partnership of government agencies and non-government conservation organizations. Public lands now include Cache River National Wildlife Refuge, White River National Wildlife Refuge, Dagmar Wildlife Management Area, Rex Hancock/Black Swamp Wildlife Management Area, Wattensaw Wildlife Management Area, and Benson Creek Natural Area.

The Big Woods Conservation Partnership is:

  • Locally initiated and managed
  • A public-private partnership
  • Maintains historic uses of public lands while vigorously protecting important species
  • Nurtures local economic uses of the land while sustaining globally significant resources

The Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology is leading the Big Woods Partnership in research efforts to locate and learn the habits of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker. It is very important to stay on the recommended trails and bodies of water shown on the maps. Doing so will contribute to a safe and enjoyable outing that will be compatible with the research team efforts.

Some of the birding trails and canoe access points will have seasonal restrictions on use. These restrictions are designed to reduce disturbance to wintering waterfowl and to compliment the ongoing Ivory-billed Woodpecker research. The recommended birding locations will be updated regularly. It will be very important to plan your trip using only currently identified locations at the time of your outing.

Should you have questions about one of the recommended birding areas a phone call or visit to one of the National Wildlife Refuge headquarters is recommended.

Various hunting seasons will be in progress during the fall and winter months. A review of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission hunting regulations brochure along with specific brochures for the White River and Cache River National Refuges will help familiarize you with specific hunting seasons that may be open at the time of your visit. Please be courteous and avoid areas where hunters are present.


How to report IBWO sightings
  • Use the online reporting form.
  • Call the Toll Free Number: 1-800-440-1477
How to report all bird observations
	Mail completed bird list to:
			U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
			110 S. Amity Road, Suite 300
			Conway, AR  72032