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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)

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-- Hamlet

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

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Friday, March 02, 2012

 

-- And Hey, Back to Louisiana --

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yeah, we can play this musical chairs game of southern states for awhile yet… ;-)

As regular readers here likely know the Project Coyote Team has put forth more evidence for the possible presence of IBWOs in their general search area in Louisiana. You can go to the IBWO Researchers' Forum to read their report and link to audio clips of extended "kent" sounds (that they believe emanated from two separate birds):

http://www.ibwo.net/forum/showthread.php?t=27&page=10
(beginning with 2/28/2012 entry)

You can also listen to a few
representative known IBWO sounds from the Singer Tract recorded 7 decades ago here:

http://www.birds.cornell.edu/ivory/multimedia/sounds/knownsounds/document_view

…or the longer version here (from Cornell's Macaulay Library):

http://tinyurl.com/84ef4z3

I assume at some point the Coyote team will be posting their data up at their own Website for easier, more organized (and long-term) retrieval than on the Forum site.

As long-time readers here also may know, I don't generally find auditory evidence very convincing (have heard a lot of it over the last 6 years), especially if unaccompanied by detailed sightings, and the same is true in this instance ('kent'-like and 'double-knock'-like sounds may not be all that uncommon in deep woods), and by their own admission these specific clips don't match up all that well to the old Singer Tract recordings… thus far, I'm not even 100% convinced the current audio sounds emanate from birds (though I suspect they do); other animals as well as mechanical or man-made objects will need to be ruled out, in addition to consideration of various avian species.

Interestingly though, the La. recording team believe these kent series were at least partially in response to "attraction" methods they were employing at the time. I'll certainly wait to see what further technical analysis has to say about the audio clips (though that likely won't be definitive either), but for now am doubtful they arise from Ivory-bills. (...It's always possible that if I'd heard these sounds in the field myself they would be more impressive than hearing them through a computer sound system though; context can alter perceptions).


I do believe the Project Coyote team is working in a good search area, and hope that perhaps follow-up work will produce more compelling evidence… obviously, locating the general area for TWO possible Ivory-billed Woodpeckers at this time of year (breeding season) would be extremely significant IF it were truly the case.

I've long contended that stationing automatic recording units in the woods of say Maine or Vermont for a week (or even 72 hrs. over a weekend) would likely pick up some 'kents' and 'double-knocks' (…am still surprised that no one, so far as I'm aware, has done such a study to indicate in some rudimentary way a sort of baseline of the auditory possibilities). Similarly, interesting cavities and significant scaling can be found in northern woods. As I think the Coyote team understands, from the standpoint of the current public arena, all such evidence at this point is weak without coinciding lengthy, detailed (and preferably close-up) sightings… and better yet of course, photos/video. The bar is set very very high, to even catch people's interest at this point.

I know some other independent-sorts have been searching in the last month... if anyone has anything at all encouraging to report let me know through confidential email (if you're willing).

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ADDENDUM: a Proj. Coyote team member sends along to me these stand alone links to the 2 'kent' recordings (first one long, 2nd one short):

http://www.south-run.com/coyote/1stsequence.MP3
http://www.south-run.com/coyote/2ndsequence.MP3

Further, the emailer recommends this additional Cornell page for a rendition of the Singer Tract kents under conditions more similar to the Proj. Coyote recording:

http://www.birds.cornell.edu/ivory/multimedia/sounds/soundalikekent/document_view

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Comments:
Thank you for posting your comments, I always enjoy hearing our opinion.

However, I don't think you give enough credit to the unique qualities of this recording. Sure, there are a lot of possible explantations for short 5-10 second "bursts" of kent calls in the woods at any given time and I think these have been covered over and over again. This recording is rather extensive and prolonged, and I challenge you to provide a plausible alternative source other than the suggested possible IBWO.

I agree that this recording would be more valuable if paired with a sighting, even if fleeting and brief. However, from the information presented, it appears that the recording was made in the general location where potential evidence of the IBWO has been recorded in the last few years. This was not in some forest in Wyoming.

I think this recording merits additional research and an increased search effort in the area.
 
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