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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






Monday, April 04, 2011

 

-- Of Camels and Thoroughbreds --

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A camel, it has been said, is 'a horse designed by a committee'. . . . .

Traditionally, April/May are the last 2 months for much Ivory-bill searching before the heat/humidity/bugs of summer preclude much deep woods activity. And I don't foresee anything on the horizon likely to alter how things stand at this point. Indeed, in 5 years of reports coming into my email in addition to what shows up on the Web, I just haven't seen anything terribly convincing since the original Big Woods and Choctawhatchee reports... plenty of intriguing stories/claims certainly, but nothing really compelling, in my view, from any single locale. I'll await to see what Cornell has to say in their final report on the subject, but not expecting any more insights there than what is already in print.
IF confirmation of IBWOs ever comes I suspect it is liable to be sudden and unexpected, without much news leading up to it.

So why the camel???... I've long thought that the scarcity of results achieved by Tanner, and Jackson, and countless others along the way, was simply due to a lack of manpower and resources. If only a large-scale, organized, systematic search for IBWOs was conducted throughout the Southeast, Ivory-bills would be documented to everyone's satisfaction, in a reasonable amount of time... so I thought... Multiple Government and University-backed personnel with money, equipment, and training surely could accomplish what had eluded lone searchers. BUT, they haven't. Though independents can search more stealthily and make quicker decisions, than a large team, I still believe they are hampered tremendously by the sheer immensity of the task, short of a very HOT, hot-zone being found.
One has to wonder at this point though, given the results, if IBWO-searching-by-large-committee is itself an inherently flawed-and-bumbling approach (I don't think so, but it did have problems/issues, and I'm left to wonder). In any event, it is largely up to a steadily-decreasing cadre of independents now. I just wish Cornell or USFWS could direct them specifically where best to expend their limited time and energy out of the still many interesting, potential locales... but as best I can tell, after 6 years of study, sadly, they barely have any clue themselves.
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Comments:
A good article, with applications to many fields, avian and otherwise:
The Science of Why We Don't Believe Science--a couple of quotes:
"A MAN WITH A CONVICTION is a hard man to change. Tell him you disagree and he turns away. Show him facts or figures and he questions your sources. Appeal to logic and he fails to see your point."...
This tendency toward so-called "motivated reasoning" helps explain why we find groups so polarized over matters where the evidence is so unequivocal: climate change, vaccines, "death panels," the birthplace and religion of the president (PDF), and much else. It would seem that expecting people to be convinced by the facts flies in the face of, you know, the facts.
 
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