Sunday, February 10, 2008

Talk about your helicopter parents


The Great IBWO Hunt is on. I'm as excited as the next amateur ornithologist over the fact that there might still be ivory-billed woodpeckers, especially since there might even be some right here in the Florida panhandle. I'm all for spending a handful of tax dollars helping them recover, and yes, I'd like to see pictures and videos. I'd like to know that they're still out there.

On the other hand, while I can sympathize with the zeal, flushing them out with helicopters seems counterproductive. Even sending all those biologists into the swamps in kayaks and wading boots seems too intrusive. How about we just pay to set aside and protect those areas that are likely habitat and just check back in 20 years?


update: more about the aerial survey

9 comments:

Bryan said...

What a brilliant idea [:twisted:] Let's go in with choppers so the downdraft from the rotors can knock all of the nests out of the trees and blow more crap in the water while sucking things into the engines and spewing noxious fumes out the exhaust. What a fabulous idea - NOT!

Get out and stay out and the swamp might be able to filter some of the crap out of the water.

I've been in helicopters in a swampy land - bad idea all the way around.

hipparchia said...

i think they nest in holes they carve out of the trees, so that part of it shouldn't be a problem.

and maybe the helicopters fly high enough to avoid some of the other problems you mention, but who knows? no matter how careful they may or may not be about that though, the sheer harassment would sure make me want to pick up stakes and move somewhere else.

Archaeopteryx said...

Those peckers in the Panhandle are real. I talked to Geoff Hill over the Christmas holidays. He has no doubt at all.

Anonymous said...

Check out ibwfound.blogspot.com for Ivory-billed Woodpecker Foundation updates!

hipparchia said...

arch: that's just too cool. thanks for telling me about it. that counteracts some of the indignities of living here in the state of hanging chads and maybe-maybe-not primaries.

hipparchia said...

anon: thanks for that link.

geneo said...

I'm not an ornithologist, but, if they really are still around it would be too cool and I'd hope we'd try and do something to protect them and encourage them to reproduce.

The helicopters sound like a supremely bad idea.

hipparchia said...

geneo: i guess you could call me a recovering birder. i used to live in the part of massachusetts talked about in the post below. all this almost-news about the ibwo is making me twitchy.

andante said...

Not being an ornithologist or even an ex-birder (my kid once had a parakeet, and it scared me to death), I can't offer any sort of opinion. Except that mixing engines and birds seldom turns out fortuitous for the birdies.

Sounds to me like someone with a stake in Helicopters 'R' Us has his/her hands in the public till.