Lasers, dark mysterious wilderness, extinct species ... almost sounds like a sequel in a well-known series of movies in which dinosaurs eat people. But no, this is real science!
In June a research aircraft flew over delta regions of the lower Mississippi River to track possible areas of habitat suitable for the ivory-billed woodpecker [Campephilus principalis], one of the largest and most regal members of the woodpecker family. The project is supported by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Geological Survey.
Scientists from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md., and the University of Maryland used NASA’s Laser Vegetation Imaging Sensor (LVIS) onboard the aircraft. The instrument uses lasers that send pulses of energy to the Earth's surface. Photons of light from the lasers bounce off leaves, branches and the ground and reflect back to the instrument. By analyzing these returned signals, scientists receive a direct measurement of the height of the forest's leaf covered tree tops, the ground level below and everything in between.
LVIS project researcher Ralph Dubayah, a professor in the University of Maryland's Department of Geography [said]. “Lidar technology like LVIS measures the vertical structure of the trees and ground, setting it apart from other remote-sensing systems that provide detailed horizontal information that tells us little about whether a green patch of forest is short or tall, for example. When identifying habitats, the vertical structure of the vegetation is of paramount importance to many species, including a bird like the ivory-bill.”
Birding News Feed. It was variously reported by
- MongaBay: NASA helps search for "exinct" woodpecker
- NewsWise: Researchers Use Laser Sensor in Search for Ivory-Bill
- PhysOrg: NASA Assists Search for Woodpecker Thought to be Extinct
- AScribe: University of Maryland and NASA Researchers Use Laser Sensor to Map Possible Habitat for Ivory-Billed Woodpecker
- Woodpecker Control: Helpful links for woodpecker control.
- Woodpecker Deterrent: The Attack Spider scares them away. Sound-activated, fast. It works!
- Get Rid of Woodpeckers: Wide Variety Woodpecker Deterrents Affordable Woodpecker Repellents
On a more positive note, it seems that, after I've scared them all off, I could still buy one of my very own:
- Ivory Billed Woodpecker: Browse a huge selection now. Find exactly what you want today. [I just want one standard plumage male Ivory-Billed Woodpecker, please. Gift-wrapped.]