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Dr. Michael Collins publishes paper on ivory-billed woodpecker
Date:4/28/2011

ing trees. The approach provided results less than a year later, but not as expected. On March 29, 2008, an Ivory-billed Woodpecker flew directly beneath one of the observation trees, and Collins saw the definitive white stripes on the back and white trailing edges of the dorsal surfaces of the wings. Just over a minute before the bird flew into view, the camera recorded a putative double knock that is consistent with a putative double knock that was recorded in Florida.

Based on historical accounts of a duck-like flight, the Ivory-billed Woodpecker was thought to have duck-like flaps in which the wings remain extended throughout the flap cycle. Although definitive fieldmarks were observed in the field, there seemed to be a contradiction when the video was inspected and found to reveal a flap style that is radically different from what was expected -- the wings are folded completely closed in the middle of each upstroke. This mystery was resolved by a long overlooked clue, a photo from 1939 of an Ivory-billed Woodpecker in flight with the wings folded closed. The observed flap style makes sense in hindsight since it is similar to that of other large woodpeckers.

The flyunder video provides the first putative footage of an Ivory-billed Woodpecker in cruising flight. Since the bird and its reflection from the still surface of a bayou are visible, it is possible to pin down the bird's position (which can't always be deduced from video footage) by triangulation. Since the bird was initially flying nearly directly toward the camera, it was possible to simultaneously extract from the video curves that define both components (horizontal and vertical) of the wingtip motion. Since the bird flew past reference objects, it was possible to estimate wingspan and obtain the first putative data on the flight speed of this species. The video also provides the first putative data on the flap rate. The combination of the wingspan and the flap style rule out all sp
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Contact: Donna McKinney
donna.mckinney@nrl.navy.mil
202-404-3322
Naval Research Laboratory
Source:Eurekalert  

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Dr. Michael Collins publishes paper on ivory-billed woodpecker
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