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BIRDING



Published: Sat, April 30, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



BIRDING

Ivory-billed woodpeckerdiscovered in Arkansas

Long believed to be extinct, the ivory-billed woodpecker has been rediscovered in the Big Woods of eastern Arkansas. More than 60 years after the last confirmed sighting of the species in the United States, a research team recently announced that at least one male ivory-bill still survives in vast areas of bottomland swamp forest.

Published in the journal Science on its Science Express Web site on April 28, the findings include multiple sightings of the elusive woodpecker and frame-by-frame analyses of brief video footage. The evidence was gathered during an intensive yearlong search in the Cache River and White River national wildlife refuges involving more than 50 experts and field biologists working together as part of the Big Woods Conservation Partnership, led by the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology at Cornell University and The Nature Conservancy.

"The bird captured on video is clearly an ivory-billed woodpecker," said John Fitzpatrick, the Science article's lead author, and director of the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology. "Amazingly, America may have another chance to protect the future of this spectacular bird and the awesome forests in which it lives."

The largest woodpecker in North America, the ivory-billed woodpecker is known through lore as a bird of beauty and indomitable spirit. The species vanished after extensive clearing destroyed millions of acres of virgin forest throughout the South between the 1880s and mid-1940s.

Although the majestic bird has been sought for decades, until now there was no firm evidence that it still existed.

The rediscovery has galvanized efforts to save the Big Woods of Arkansas, which covers 550,000 acres of bayous, bottomland forests and oxbow lakes.

For more information about the efforts to save the ivory-billed woodpecker and the Big Woods, visit www.ivorybill.org www.ivorybill.org/.

International migratoryevent at Magee Marsh

Live raptor displays, songbird banding demonstrations, and roving bird guides are a few of the naturalist programs that will highlight International Migratory Bird Day, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on May 14 at Magee Marsh State Wildlife Area in Ottawa County.

In addition to bird watching opportunities at one of the nation's top-ranked birding locations, visitors also will have access to marsh wagon tours, decoy and songbird carving demonstrations, nest box displays and an exhibit on bird optics. A photo exhibit of area spring migrants also will be on display.

The Magee Marsh State Wildlife Area is located 17 miles west of Port Clinton on State Route 2 between State Routes 19 and 590, and is open to visitors from sunrise to sunset. The Sportsmen's Migratory Bird Center is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays year round. The center is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday from March through November. Call 419-898-0960, Ext. 31 for more information.

CLUBS

Melat Memorial shoot

The Busted Flush Sporting Clays Course will host the Melat Memorial Open, a shoot in memory of David Melat, on May 15 at The Busted Flush Sporting Clay Course, 1162 Shreve Road, Titusville, Pa.

There will be a gourmet lunch between noon and 1 p.m., 100 targets with a European start, a $5 Modified Lewis Class, 50/50 Long Bird Contest, raffles and a silent auction. Donations for the auction will be greatly appreciated.

Trophies will be awarded for pro, expert, advanced and beginner shooters. Cost is $40 per person. For more information, contact Reyn at (814) 827-4030.

OHIO

Stream quality workshop

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources and the Division of Natural Areas and Preserves will host a Stream Quality Monitoring Workshop on the following dates and locations: Chagrin River, Lake County, May 11, 5 to 7 p.m. at Old River Farm Picnic Area, Route 174, North Chagrin Reservation; Little Beaver Creek, Columbiana County, May 17, 5 to 7 p.m. at Beaver Creek State Park; Grand River, Lake County, May 19, 5 to 7 p.m. at Helen-Hayzen Wymen Park, Route 86, Painesville; Upper Cuyahoga, Portage County, May 25, 5 to 7 p.m. at Mantua Village Park, High Street, Mantua.

For more information, call Billie Jagers, SQM coordinator at (330) 527-2961 or the Scenic Rivers office at (330) 527-4184.

New trail, visitors plaza

Two major improvements at key outdoor recreation sites in the scenic Hocking Hills, representing important state investments in the region's growing tourism economy, were dedicated Thursday by Ohio first lady Hope Taft.

Taft joined Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Director Sam Speck in opening a newly reconstructed Lower Gorge Trail at Conkle's Hollow State Nature Preserve and a new visitors plaza at the entrance to the Old Man's Cave Trail at Hocking Hills State Park. Both projects cost more than $750,000, part of $8 million invested by ODNR in the Hocking Hills region since 1999.

In dedicating the improved Lower Gorge Trail, Taft cited the enhanced accessibility the trail's new concrete surface offers to parents with strollers, people using wheelchairs and those seeking a casual, easy walk through the unique natural environment of Conkle's Hollow.

PENNSYLVANIA

Hunting seasons set

The Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners recently gave final approval to hunting and trapping seasons and bag limits for 2005-06, including expanded hunter opportunities through the Deer Management Assistance Program; more bear hunting; increased elk hunting; and new and expanded youth-only hunting seasons. The new seasons take effect July 1.

Seasons and bag limits for migratory game birds and waterfowl will be approved and announced in late July and mid-August, respectively, once the agency receives seasonal frameworks from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

For more information, log on to www.pgc.state.pa.us.

Fishing rules proposed

Commercial charter boats and fishing guides would have to meet uniform standards, including insurance requirements and safety certifications, under a measure proposed by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.

Regulations for the administering of Charter Boat/Fishing Guide Permits were approved for publication of a notice of proposed rulemaking at the PFBC spring quarterly meeting on Tuesday. The commission had previously created a working group of active fishing guides and charter boat operators that was instrumental in drafting the regulations. The commission will solicit additional public input on the proposed regulations before taking a final vote on the plan.

In other action at the meeting, the commission also proposed changes to regulations governing the taking of reptiles and amphibians. The reptile and amphibian regulation changes propose, among other things, making it unlawful to capture or kill a timber rattlesnake less than 42 inches in length and with less than 21 subcaudal scales. The proposal also would implement a zero possession limit on 23 species considered to be rare in Pennsylvania. An extended public comment period will be held to gather input on the regulatory package.

FISHING

Muskie tourney set

The Cleveland Chapter #23 of Muskies Inc. will be having its annual spring Tom Bishop Sr. Memorial Fishing Tournament on Pymatuning Reservoir on May 14 and 15. Registration will be from 7 to 9 a.m. May 14 and 7 to 8 a.m. on May 15 at the Duck and Drake, 7038 Pymatuning Lake Road, Andover, Ohio 44003.

On the water sign up all other times. Contact tournament directors on CB 17 or VHF 71. Entry fee is $12. Awards will be given for largest released muskie and most releases. The event also will feature a big fish pool, door prizes and a raffle. For more information, call (330) 296-2938 or (440) 269-2464 or see the group's Web site at www.muskiesinc23.com/.

Tournament results

Results from the recent Western Reserve Walleye Association tournament at Pymatuning Reservoir:

1: Mike Kalafut and Tom Davis, Uniontown, Pa., and Wamtum, Pa., 5 walleye, $865

2: Dale Grimm and Sam Cappelli, Lordstown and Poland, 5, $540

3: Andy and John Jackson, Canton, 4, $340

4: Mike Landsberger, East Palestine, 4, $250

5: Ken Abernathy and Keith Walters, Ravenna and New Middletown, 5, $180

The next event is at Berlin Reservoir on May 7. Late registration will be available at the Bonner Road ramp the morning of the event from 5:45 to 6:30 a.m. For more information, call (330) 821-8861.




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