US Fish & Wildlife Service logo
Southeast Region US Fish & Wildlife Service header


Partners Establish Protocol to Report Sightings of Ivory-Billed Woodpecker


June 16, 2005

Kyla Hastie, Fish and Wildlife Service, 404-679-7125
Blaine Friedlander, Cornell University, 607-254-8093
Connie Bruce, Cornell Ornithology. 607/254-2491


The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) and Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology announce the establishment of an e-mail address ( and associated web site ( to report sightings of the rediscovered Ivory-billed Woodpecker.

“Since the announcement in April that the Ivory-billed Woodpecker has been confirmed at Arkansas’ Cache River National Wildlife Refuge, we’ve had numerous calls reporting sightings,” said Sam D. Hamilton, Southeast Regional Director for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “We need to gather this information so biologists can explore any promising leads.”

Because the Ivory-billed Woodpecker looks very similar to the more common Pileated Woodpecker, biologists urge the public to carefully review the information on the web site, including range maps, habitat descriptions, field marks, and photos of both birds, before reporting sighting information.

People who believe they’ve seen an Ivory-billed Woodpecker should fill out the form available at and send it to Those without Internet access may request the form by calling the Cornell Lab of Ornithology at (800) 843-2473.

“We’ve had reports of Ivory-billed Woodpeckers in people’s backyards from Michigan to Maine,” said Ron Rohrbaugh of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. “These observations are well outside of the Ivory-bill’s historic range, but even within the range it’s unlikely that someone would encounter one in their backyard. Rather, the birds sighted in these situations are almost certainly Pileated Woodpeckers. We urge the public to carefully study the differences between an Ivory-billed and Pileated woodpecker before reporting a sighting. This will help us focus on those reports that are most credible.”

The Service has established a second e-mail address,, where the public can submit questions or comments about the recovery of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker. The public may also write to: Ivory-billed Woodpecker Recovery Team Leader, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, 1875 Century Boulevard, Atlanta, GA 30345.

The Service and Cornell Lab of Ornithology will work closely with partners including The Nature Conservancy, state fish and wildlife agencies, and university researchers throughout the Southeast to investigate credible reports of Ivory-billed Woodpeckers.

The partners hope that hunters, birders, hikers, kayakers and others who spend time exploring the bottomland hardwood swamps of the Southeast may be able to help in the search for the bird.

“It was kayaker Gene Sparling that led us to the confirmed Cache River Refuge sighting,” said John Fitzpatrick, director of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. “We hope that more Ivory-billed Woodpeckers are out there, just waiting to be seen.”

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 95-million- acre National Wildlife Refuge System, which encompasses 545 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 69 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resources offices, and 81 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign and Native American Tribal governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Assistance program, which distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to State fish and wildlife.

The Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology is a non-profit membership institution with the mission to interpret and conserve the earth’s biological diversity through research, education, and citizen science focused on birds. From its headquarters at the Imogene Powers Johnson Center for Birds and Biodiversity in Ithaca New York, the Lab leads international efforts in bird monitoring and conservation and fosters the ability of enthusiasts of all ages and skill levels to make a difference.

For more information, visit,

For more information about the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, visit our home page at or

NOTE: You can view our releases or subscribe to receive them -- via e-mail -- at the Service's Southeast Regional home page at Our national home page is at:, GA 30345
Phone: 404/679-7289 Fax: 404/679-7286

Graphic for Clickable Items Click for Privacy Statement Click here for Freedom of Information Act Statement Click here for Disclaimer Statement Click here to Contact the Southeast Region Click here for Sitemap Click here for the Search Engine for US Fish and Wildlife Service Click here for the Regions in the US Fish and Wildlife Service