Researchers see rare ivory-billed woodpecker in Florida swamps

PENSACOLA, Fla. (AP) - Researchers say they have seen and heard the ivory-billed woodpecker in swamps in Florida.

The bird was thought to be extinct until researchers in Arkansas in 2004 documented the bird in the Big Woods area of east Arkansas.

The Auburn University ornithologists, who published their findings in Canada's Avian Conservation and Ecology journal online today, failed to capture a picture of the large woodpecker with the white bill that makes a distinct double rapping sound.

The last confirmed ivory-billed sighting was in 1944. Auburn ornithologist Geoffrey Hill headed the four-month search in northwest Florida that ended in April.

He says his team plans to return to the Choctawhatchee River basin sometime around November with better equipment to try to get photographs.

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