Pursuers of long-lost bird dwindle

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - It's been four years since officials announced the rediscovery of the elusive ivory-billed woodpecker.

But there's been little evidence to silence skeptics of the bird's reappearance, and search efforts have dwindled.

Allan Mueller, avian conservation project manager for the Arkansas Nature Conservancy, says the organization - for the first time since 2004 - has no search efforts planned.

Mueller says the original search team of about 20 full-time searchers from various agencies and more than 100 volunteers slipped to three full-time searchers and about 25 volunteers by last year.

Another key player in the search, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, is also considering abandoning the Big Woods of eastern Arkansas. Researchers will review reports from the previous search season to decide if they'll pursue another search this fall.

Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, http://www.arkansasonline.com

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