Colorized by Sutton / Cornell U.

Sketch by Don Eckelberry

Watercolor by John James Audubon

Watercolor by John James Audubon

Drawing by Evan Barbour

Ingredients of a Successful Search

Let somebody know! It all looks the same.

Better done as a team
In the interest of safety it is much better to plan your outing as a team effort. Teaming up can also increase the detail and accuracy of an Ivory-billed Woodpecker observation report.

Remember that you will be going to remote areas. Even experienced Big Woods visitors can find the forests looking “much the same”. It can be very easy to become disoriented, especially on a cloudy day.

Adequate preparation must include sharing your itinerary including specific location and expected return time with someone who could send for you in the event of unforeseen trouble.

Be sure to print or obtain a copy of the map for the birding trail or canoe access you plan to visit. Copies of these maps can be obtained at National Wildlife Refuge headquarters. Standard equipment should always include a reliable compass: the use of GPS equipment is encouraged.

High Water! / Jim Besley - USFWS Water levels
During periods of high water many if not all of the birding opportunities can become inundated and accessible only by canoe or boat. Understanding how water levels influence access to the Big Woods is essential to the success of your visit. Boating can be hazardous during high water periods. For these reasons, birding trails and some canoe access points will be removed from the web site during periods of high water. Alternate birding trails may be added during high water periods so check the web site frequently.

Left: Notice the signs on the tree next to a 6 foot man. The sign at the top was placed from a boat during HIGH WATER!.

Hypothermia can be a real threat if you become stranded and are not dressed to conserve body heat in cold wet conditions. You should go prepared for inclement weather with the knowledge that in some locations help will be hours away.

During warm weather you will experience a persistent assault by mosquitoes. Leave the insect repellent behind and your visit will be brief.

Beware of Snakes! / Jason Phillips - USFWS You may also see venomous snakes during warm weather, so look both up and down if you have your shirt sleeves rolled up! This is their home, give them a little space and they will return the favor. Remember that in some locations help, particularly medical attention, can be hours away.

Traditional uses
There are other traditional recreational activities taking place in the areas you will be visiting.

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.
Trails shared with ATVs / Stock Photo
Many of the birding trails are also approved for all terrain vehicle use so do not be surprised to encounter trail riders. Please park vehicles at trailheads so that all terrain vehicles will still be able to access and use these trails.