General Search Overview from My Perspective

Because the current habits of the Ivory-bills today may differ from those of the birds discussed in Tanner’s 1935-1937 research, and because recent technology offers new options, this season's search focus and techniques are somewhat diverse and evolving.  I found the search effort roughly split into two categories, pragmatic based, and historic based.

The pragmatic effort followed up on sightings or sounds reported, regardless of the habitat or time of day the information came from, assuming we don’t really know enough about the bird to second guess what is real or important.

The historical approach focused on searching areas that fit the historical habitat and used methods that should work if the bird retains its 18th century habits.  Already the two approaches seem to be merging as more data is collected on the Arkansas woods and the Arkansas IBWOs.

The full-season crew handled assignments that took considerable training or a career’s worth of experience.  The volunteers handled assignments that they either already knew how to do or could be trained to do in a day.

I was impressed with the capability and motivation of all the crewmembers I met.  There was a diverse range of different expertise and backgrounds among us.  I think that diversity is an asset in a group, especially at this early stage in the search.