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IVORY-BILLS  LiVE???!  ...

=> THE blog devoted to news and commentary on the most iconic bird in American ornithology, the Ivory-billed Woodpecker (IBWO)... and... sometimes other schtuff.
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"....The truth is out there."

-- Dr. Jerome Jackson, 2002 (... & Agent Fox Mulder)

“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

-- Hamlet

"All truth passes through 3 stages: First it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as self-evident."

-- Arthur Schopenhauer






Thursday, April 29, 2010

 

-- Project Coyote Update --

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Mark Michaels has a new update from the "Project Coyote" group in Louisiana, which focuses on IBWO anatomy (with links to several papers) as an aid to recognizing their foraging sign:

http://www.south-run.com/coyote/updates.htm

I'm not sure that the discussion (primarily of IBWO footing and stance) will result in a clearer indication of IBWO foraging sign than we already have. Much work has already previously gone into trying to relate IBWO bill size and shape to their foraging sign (which seems logical), but without much success in distinguishing their sign from that of others. And scaling and peeling of bark can also result from critters (and natural forces) other than woodpeckers, so it's not singly a matter of distinguishing IBWO from PIWO. I'm just not sure that focusing on other attributes will lead to clear distinctions, but will wait to see where the discussion eventually leads. (I believe, if not mistaken, that Cornell had a system for rating foraging sign for IBWO probability, just as they did with cavities; it would be useful to know their criteria, if they had such).

Mark also mentions that further (inconclusive) camera-trap images and audio examples may be posted at their site in the future.

I've had a post on Cornell waiting in the wings for awhile, and also a post on why bird counts are scientific crap (and scientific crap can be very useful! ;-)) so maybe one of those for tomorrow... or not.
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Comments:
Just to be clear, I think anatomy (including bill size and shape) is one important piece of a larger puzzle, and that there is a limited category of distinctive foraging sign. There's also undoubtedly a great deal of overlap. I've been thinking about this problem for several years now, and as I say in the update, I think I know some sign when I see it. The process is ongoing, and a lot remains to be done.
 
As I have indicated before, it is the correlations in time and species among indicators that interest me. It is not just a matter of foraging sign, but candidate foraging sign in proximity to double-knocks and kent calls. What has been sorely lacking I think in official efforts are control studies in southern bottomlands.
 
I really think you're off into the realms of fantasy. I know you don't like criticism here but you can't come out with this kind of stuff and not expect it. It's ridiculous.

I can't wait to see the blurry, hopeless camera trap images that are just bad enough not to be able to identify the common species in them.
 
I have read the Project Coyote website and it is quite clear that these people are several screws loose, not knowlegable birders and are doing a diservice to anyone trying to promote the cause of the IBWO in a measured and sensible way - which is hard enough as it is.

They have, of course, had several 'encounters' already and are entirely free to make idiots of themselves.

You don't need "candidate forgaing signs in proximity to double knocks and kents" - that's absolute crap. If these birds are hanging around long enough to make those foraging signs, and calling to advertise their presence, then they WILL be seen. But you just don't get it.

Bill Pulliam is estimating populations over at his website - someone should send him these encouters to further inflate the species' numbers. It seems they are much more common than we thought even six years ago!
 
The spat doth protest too much, methinks.

All of the conservation-minded hard skeptics have moved on, since there's no public money being spent. Something else is going on here -- an unattended need of some sort. Maybe this will help with that frustration, spat:

Bozo Bag

It seems they are much more common than we thought even six years ago!

I agree! I think the '05 hurricanes were a windfall (pun?) for ivory-bills. Cornell writes mostly about the negative effects on the Pearl, which had severe damage, but there was a lot of light-to-moderate damage elsewhere in La. that could've been very beneficial to ivory-bills. 07-09 may have been fabulous breeding seasons. I think so!
 
Spat, what is with this freudian desire you seem to have to type my name out over and over again?
 
And Spat, I've read your posts for some time now, and it's clear to me you're a developmentally arrested narcissist for whom facts and nuance are largely irrelevant to your egocentric quest to inflict your own self-determined, self-centered--and probably delusional--reality upon others.

They have a lot of them in my part of the country, and I decided long ago the best way to deal with them is make sure they come in second in any namecalling contest they initiate.

In the words of Daniel P. Moynihan, you're entitled to your own opinion; you're not entitled to your own facts.

And the little factual stuff you've posted here tells me you would no more able to navigate a southern swamp than shed that closed mind your dysfunctional upbringing foisted on you. Take a look at a few of Collins' shots over on his site and the territory; you're the one who doesn't get it.

One of my inbox fans suggested you were probably British, and I'm reminded of a story I once read about an Englishman who wrote the president castigating him for allowing the Grand Canyon to remain as it is. He felt it was a terrible waste of potential farmland...
 
No, I just want to see one of these sightings credibly documented and repeated.

If these Coyote people are finding birds exactly where they are looking - as did Fred Virazzi and Hill and Collins etc), are they extremely lucky, or are there a MUCH higher number of IBWOs out there in unsearched areas. You do the math.
 
Hmmm, time to make another video. If you missed the one honoring The Whole Truth here's the link.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l3PQVAMG6G0
 
Ah, so we should "do the math"? The only math I see you doing is binary stuff, with an operating system that consists of a one and a zero.

I saw another ditty this morning about how some people rely on statistics the way a drunk relies on a lightpost...

They use it for support, not illumination...

They have to be lucky? Seriously, it couldn't be they were skillful and persistent as well? And spent some time looking where the birds might be found?

Reminds me of when I used to play bridge, that card game your grandmother might've loved. If you had to "find" a trump honor, say the queen, you "looked" where there was "room" and "evidence" for it (opponents "chirp" in a situation exactly analogous to a kent call or bark peeling).

One's probability wound up way more than even money every time, despite what the oddsmakers claimed.
 
Cornell classified feeding trees as "A" or "B" based on bark tightness, degree of excavation into the wood, and characteristics of wood scarring. They also scored the freshness of the sign. They located 255 trees "suggestive of IBWO feeding activity" in the first year in Arkansas but it there is no way to tell what rankings are included. The whole process seems quite subjective to me and they did not even bother to distinguish feeding trees from cavity trees on their maps. I can find no mention of the number of "A" feeding trees anywhere.
 
thanks fang, I should've known you would know or find it :-)
 
So, do the math.

You can get a rough estimate of claims in the last six years and you know roughly where they were seen.

You know areas that are suitable that haven't been searched. It seems simple to me. I could do it myself but I'd like to see some of you to force yourselves to do it and thereby see the ridiculously large population it would suggest. That in itself should clear your view a little.

So, is any one brave enough?
 
"If these Coyote people are finding birds exactly where they are looking - as did Fred Virazzi and Hill and Collins etc), are they extremely lucky, or are there a MUCH higher number of IBWOs out there in unsearched areas. You do the math."

SPAT,
Project Coyote did not throw a dart at a map and start a search there. Unlike Cornell who seems to dismiss any report that does not come from their inner circle,Project Coyote came across reports from several people in a small area and followed up on them. Interviews were conducted and the responses sounds credible.
Project Coyote is not trying to elicit any funds from you or your government.So unless you want to do something useful and get involved why don't you shut the hell up and go away.
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"The whole process seems quite subjective to me and they did not even bother to distinguish feeding trees from cavity trees on their maps. I can find no mention of the number of "A" feeding trees anywhere."

Fangsheath from what I saw the whole process was very subjective. I worked off and on with the Arkansas Cornell teams for 2-3 years.The members all went through roughly the same orientation and training,but each seemed to come away with their own interpretation.
 
Ross,

simply multiply the recent sightings by the area that YOU deem to be still suitable fot the IBWO and you'll soon see that this species shouldn't qualify under any IUCN criteria!

Go on, do it!
 
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