Southeastern Outdoors Birds & Birding
Home > Wildlife > Birds > Ivory-billed Woodpecker Sighting Protocol
Web Site Promotion

Partners Establish Protocol to Report Sightings of Ivory-Billed Woodpecker

June 16, 2005

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.


Please join us in our Birding Discussions forums for topics covering the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker, endangered bird species, Birding, Backyard Wildlife and More.

Ivory-billed Info
Birds & Birding
White River NWR
Bird Forums
Ivory-billed Team
Cache River NWR
Sponsor Links
Dale Hollow Marina
What's This?
Related Links
Rehab Directory
Arkansas Cabins
Ivory-Billed Woodpecker Books