Search for Ivory-Billed Woodpecker Stepping Up as Weather Warms

MARCH 27, 2006 - Posted at 7:47 a.m. CST

ALBUQUERQUE, NM - Greg Keller is good at using his skills of observation and patience to study common song birds.

Starting today, a biology professor at Eastern New Mexico University, will put his skills to the test as a member of a search team for the ivory-billed woodpecker.

Researchers at Cornell University announcled last April that an ivory-billed woodpecker, thought to have been extinct since 1944, had been spotted in the Cache River National Wildlife Refuge of eastern Arkansas.

Keller's team will be the sixth team from Cornell since January to search for the woodpecker.  The university has sent out two teams of 14 volunteers every two weeks in hopes of finding more proof of the bird's existence.

Keller says he'll be wading in chest-deep water for most of the time, as well as hiking and and canoeing several miles a way.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)