Bird Watchers Flock to Arkansas

December 18, 2005--Posted at 11:20 p.m. CST

BRINKLEY--Dozens of birders have flocked to the wildlife refuges of the Arkansas Delta to follow up on a kayaker's 2004 sighting of a bird so rare it was thought to have been
extinct. They're hoping to get a clear video or picture of the ivory billed woodpecker and then, once they find it, study its behavior.

Scientists with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology are among them. They plan to comb thousands of acres into the spring. They will be looking for a roost, a nesting hole or any other evidence of the
woodpecker's existence. Their days stretch from before dawn to just before dusk, when the birds are believed to be most active.

Even with their high-tech equipment, the searchers hike and canoe with Global Positioning Systems, binoculars, digital video cameras and cell phones. They are searching about 550-thousand
Arkansas acres, or about 75 percent of the size of Rhode Island.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)