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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






Wednesday, March 07, 2012

 

-- 'Round and 'Round We Go --

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Thanks to all who've sent along their thoughts on the Louisiana sounds via email… even though nothing is settled; no one writing me is willing to call the sounds Ivory-bills, but nor has anyone pinpointed a really convincing candidate for what the sounds are -- I'm honestly surprised a good candidate hasn't arisen yet. I think the most difficult thing to account for is the sporadic, unpatterned nature of the calls -- the notes themselves do sound like certain things, but not when given in the rather random sort of series that they appear. As I've been leaning somewhat toward waterbirds as the source for the sounds my best candidate thus far (though it has some problems) is immature Common Moorhen (Gallinule):

http://tinyurl.com/88uozh9


Kinda wish someone would put the calls on the Louisiana listserv -- even if most readers there are likely jaded to Ivory-bill stuff, it still may take just one person, well-acquainted with Louisiana fauna, to hear the tapes and say, "Well it was February, so of course that is ___________", and the riddle is over! -- I'm a believer in the collaborative 'hive mind' of the Web (even as messy as it can be) -- the day of "experts" solving things in isolation is receding (and this 6-year IBWO saga/debacle? of inconclusiveness may be an example of why). Still, would also be good to hear the opinions of David Sibley, Pete Dunne and several others, though they may not wish to publicly wade into such matters. We need to put these mystery sounds to rest as soon as possible… even if it's not Ivory-bills, other IBWO searchers need to know what is capable of such sounds. I've recently put the sound clips on Twitter, but don't expect much feedback from that. (On a sidenote, the last people still alive to have actually heard Ivory-bills in the wild, Nancy Tanner and George & Nancy Lamb have heard the tapes, but are not able to clearly rule in or out the possibility of IBWOs.)

For what it's worth, I think the Louisiana team wishes these latest auditory clips to be viewed not in isolation, but as part of a larger body of work (sightings claims, scaling, anecdotes, etc.) that they've compiled over an extended period of time in the general central Louisiana area they are working. Still, we need lengthy, close-up, detailed observations by multiple observers, at a minimum…. and really, photos/video. (sorry, to sound like a broken record…)

Again (so you don't have to keep jumping back to an earlier post), here are the swamp sounds in question:

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

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

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ADDENDUM: for bird-detective-types ;-), wishing to play around with various sounds themselves, the site I used above, xeno-canto, is here:

http://www.xeno-canto.org/

I like it because it usually has several different examples for any given species; males, females, and juveniles can have quite different calls/songs, and even a single given bird may have a variety of different vocalizations depending upon circumstances.

Cornell has at least 2 sites from which you can listen to bird sounds, their famous Macaulay Library, and their "All About Birds" site:

http://macaulaylibrary.org/
http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/search/ac

And a couple other sites here:

http://www.naturesongs.com/birds.html
http://www.enature.com/birding/audio.asp

Finally, even YouTube will often have great examples of bird calls.
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Comments:
I was listening to recordings of waterfowl and I found another strange sound I'd like to identify. At the 15.3 second mark of this there's a brief sound like a toy trumpet with a base frequency of ~600Hz.

The recording was in Baton Rouge. I'm not suggesting it's an ivory-bill, but would like know what it is. It would be good to know the confusers. I emailed the recordist. He thought possibly an American Coot.
 
I believe these are Soras recorded in LA. I was contacted by a Coyote researcher who confirmed I have been at, or very close to the location in the recent past.

The area contains a large lake with numerous fingers of open water with appropriate Sora habitat on the edges (substantial emergent vegetation on many acres). The birds were estimated to be within ~ 50 yards of the appropriate optimal, sinuous band of Sora habitat, but in the flooded forest. In my experience its very difficult to estimate with confidence where a calling Sora is. Since the birds are only 9 inches, and were unseen by the field workers who estimated them to be over 100 yards away, one can not determine the exact habitat the birds were in.

Regardless Soras are sometimes in flooded forests (Lor, Socheata Krystyne. 2000. Population status and breeding ecology of marsh birds in western New York. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University, Department of Natural Resources. Thesis). Other sources also.

LA has a relatively high February concentration of this rather common species..

During decades of scouting for the World Series of Birding I had the pleasure of checking many marsh habitats in the day and night. For two consecutive springs one particular marsh had one or more Soras that vocalized diurnally quite like these birds in LA, in both cadence, piping sound, duration, etc. Soras in dozens of other marshes sometimes suggested these LA notes. Soras will often counter call and can usually be enticed with various man-made noises to give notes. They will call in the day ambiently or if one is making a "racket" as occurred here. Sora calls carry and are powerful like some IBWO notes; they could be mistaken for IBWOs by inexperienced birders.

The notes do not sound like IBWOs in any of the tapes considered actual or putative IBWO (including the excellent 2009 LA audio made in the same larger area).

I have found some Sora DAY notes of counter calling? birds that are similar at Canto from Alabama date 10/17/2010 if link isn't working:

Listen to seconds : 42 and 2:10 to 2:40 from a DIURNAL audio: .

http://www.xeno-canto.org/maps.php?lat=30.4028&long=-88.2689&loc=Bayou%20La%20Batre%20Ponds,%20ACBT%2050,%20Bayou%20La%20Batre,%20Alabama

http://www.xeno-canto.org/species/Porzana-carolina

Other Canto Sora recordings also have suggestive notes.

thanks

Fred Virrazzi
 
Thanks Fred, the Sora calls you reference do have a certain similarity, and a number of people have said they're the closest of any alternatives yet proposed. I feel that way myself, and we are making efforts to determine whether Soras are present in the area. We've done several rounds of IBWO attraction methods in the vicinity and have gotten no similar responses. We will also use some more conventional methods for getting Soras to call.

Everyone who has listened to the Sora calls thinks they're similar but not quite right, higher in pitch with a different sonic quality. The sonograms are also inconsistent with Sora, at least thus far. Frequency structure in our recorded calls is ~1000 and ~2200hz (with 2200 dominant in most) and no higher frequencies showing up. Dominant frequency in the Sora calls is around 3000hz, with many higher frequencies visible in the sonogram, for example:

http://www.xeno-canto.org/62726

We will continue to look into this possibility.
 
Your welcome MM.

Its very unlikely that these are IBWO calls; might be best to move back to finding woodpeckers and avoid non-productive effort trying to confirm Soras in central LA in Feb/March (they are certainly there in numbers). They are likely the most common rail in NA. Time is limited.

The range of Sora repertoire seems under appreciated. In addition to its basic vernacular, there is variability due to season, sex, age and biological context. Ear birders organically consider the general quality of notes/calls of certain species they know are variable. These LA notes have a Sora quality, not IB.

Matches to an individual harmonic, a segment of the ladder, can be important rather than trying to match the entire stack of harmonics when certain species, including Soras, are involved. This may be helpful when all these Feb., non-breeding birds give shortened calls while they are gathering; they have a mixture of rising hormones due to approaching migration with breeding hormones far from peak.

It shouldn't be expected that a winter Sora will match a typical breeding or intraspecific interaction sonogram when they actually called in response to anthropogenic knocks and nasal notes. These introduced sounds and derivative reactions from various fauna likely triggered a more unusual/atypical alarm/interspecific response by the birds. The 400 plus, DK point data several of us have gathered document various odd or rarer calls.

In general, taxa that have evolved in marshes, where sight lines are limited and predation pressures are exceedingly high, have developed a relatively rich vocal repertoire. Visual signals are risky in these habitats so specific notes for sets of related situations have developed; this can result in many different possible vocalizations. Picidae which augment communication with visual clues/plumage and drumming have less vocal range than Rallidae. IBWOs should be hard to mistake in the field but it seems to be happening.

Looking at sonograms in a vacuum can be misleading ; it's important when examining possible candidate species to consider:

1) variability within a species. (Soras; Rails; Gallinules are variable)

2) taxonomic considerations (see above)

3) physiological capabilities (see below)

4) biological context (unusual situation-you were DKing and kenting)

5) breeding phenology and circannular context (rising hormone levels such as melatonin, causing Zugunruhewere, as they gather to migrate out/into of LA in Feb). A species calls' when it has a high level of sex hormones can deviate from that season when melatonin’s effects are relatively dominant.

6) weather, cloud cover and time of day

On physiological capabilities, the Sora has substantial talent in the exact Hz MM says the mystery calls were in. There are many Sora calling bouts that are entirely below the 2200 Hz you report the LA calls have. And these known Sora calls have no higher frequencies (below) and tend to have harmonics right at 2000 and 1000. Gallinules can also sound off in the pertinent frequencies with nothing higher.


Freezeout Lake WMA, Fairfield, Montana


http://www.xeno-canto.org/maps.php?lat=47.6973&long=-112.0495&loc=Freezeout%20Lake%20WMA,%20Fairfield,%20Montana


http://www.xeno-canto.org/species/Porzana-carolina


tks
 
We have confirmed that Soras are present in the area. Yesterday, typical Sora calls were recorded in response to playbacks. This occurred shortly after an approximately two minute series of unknown calls was heard, not in response to any attraction method. This recording shows the higher frequencies associated with Sora calls and sounds very similar to the calls recorded on 2/21. Based on this information, we now believe that Sora is the best candidate that has emerged as the source of the February 21st calls, except possibly the two I posted on ibwo.net yesterday. We appreciate Fred V's call on this. We want to make a few things clear for the record.

1) From the beginning, we felt that these calls were not quite right for IBWO, and made the decision to enlist the aid of what CT refers to as the "hive mind" of the IBWO and birding communities in identifying the source of these sounds. Indeed, our initial field impression, and our discussion about it, captured on the full recording, was that they didn't sound quite right and we'd have to see.

2) We only went public after several outstanding ear-birders did not rule out IBWO. In fact, one leaned very heavily in favor of that ID. Our reason for making this public was, in part, to get good people to participate in what is mainly a two-person effort.

3) We said all along that we welcomed alternative hypotheses. It took some time for Sora to emerge. We took it seriously, followed up, and, in our view, resolved the question.

4) This was by no means an easy ID. It stumped a number of very experienced and skillful people.

5) This has no bearing on the other evidence Project Coyote has posted, almost all of which of which comes from much drier locations.

6) We don't believe that Sora adequately explains all the sounds that have been recorded in the area in recent weeks, and we will continue to search in the vicinity, which contains some very good and hard-to-reach habitat. We are examining some other recently obtained audio and may post it soon for others to evaluate.

We also want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has contributed to this effort. Your participation and support, whether public or "behind the scenes" is, in large part, what keeps us going back to the bottomlands looking for conclusive documentation.
 
Firstly, learn some common bird calls.

Secondly, if you yourself don't even think the calls are IBWO, get them checked out by some proper experts to avoid making yourself look silly in public. There are several well-known websites that would have put you on the right track very quickly.

Thirdly, you must surely realize that if you ask the IBWO community what they think of 'mystery' sounds, you will get pretty much biased answers from a generally poorly-informed group of people.

Fourthly, please don't post the further audio unless it truly adds to the whole debate.
 
"Look silly in public"... tee-hee
 
@ Steve and EJS...

Firstly - if this were a "common" bird call, it would have probably been id'ed in the field by Mark or myself. The Sora is not that common that far from the coast, and this particular call doesn't exactly match either the "sounds like" or sonogram of the Sora calls on the websites you mention.

Secondly - Just who would you call a "proper" expert? Give me some names, and the next time I record a mysterious vocalization, I'll be sure to copy them on the initial email message. I'm betting I personally know more experts on birds of the Southeastern US than you do. I'll also bet that they are biologists, ornithologists, and birders of greater skill and knowledge than yourself. I didn't notice you chipping in with any suggestions. Or did I miss something? By the way, Kudos to Fred Virrazzi for putting me on the right track. In case you're wondering Fred was the first and only reviewer to suggest Sora - and in our conversation, he said that this was indeed an unusual vocalization. Wasn't too hard to nail down once a good alternative hypothesis had been postulated. You mention "well known websites" - once Sora had been suggested, the weep call was immediately recognized as being similar - though a poor match via the sonogram - I replicated the experiment with better recording equipment, got the same calls, and while these are pitched somewhat lower than those posted on the websites, the sonograms showed a very similar harmonic structure, strongly suggesting Sora. Also, other much more common Sora calls were noted, which were neither noted nor recorded initially.

Thirdly - The entire birding and scientific community was invited to help ID this critter. In fact, on one of the aforementioned websites, one of the top ear birders in North America posted that he thought it MIGHT be an amphibian, but wasn't sure, and Tweeted his followers with an ID challenge. Somehow, I hesitate to call the scientific, birding, and IBWO "believer" communities (the latter in spite of their acknowledged bias) a "generally poorly-informed group of people." On the contrary, they tend to be much better informed and a lot more civil than the troll community at large...

Fourthly - (is that even a word?) I'll continue to post any damn thing I want to, when I'm trying to learn something new. I'd suggest you not click on the link, if it bothers you...

Finally - I usually invite trolls such as yourself to Louisiana for some fun, sun, and relaxing adventure, but in this case I can't do it. From your use of the phrase "proper experts" and EJS's use of the phrase "tee-hee", it's pretty clear that y'all have a paper butthole. The first time a bull gator rose up out the water grunting his displeasure at your presence, that paper butthole would contract up tight enough to clip a ten-penny nail right in half, and I'd have to help someone with wet pants out of the swamp... Not my thing at all...

Frank
 
Hey Steve, why don't you go take on the "Bigfoot is real" crowd? There are a lot more opportunities there, and honest, many of us would support you in that one since the damn Sassie crowd has filled Animal Planet and the History Channel with what amounts to real nonsense. That crapola can really do harm to impressionable children. At worst, what the IBWO search does is give hope in a world that often doesn't offer much of that commodity .

Now are you going to suggest that soros did the bark peeling as well?
 
Concolor...

The bark peeling was clearly the work of a feral giraffe...

PW
 
You tried here?:

http://birdingonthe.net/mailinglists/FRID.html
 
One wonders what the difference is between the site Steve linked and what Mark and Frank did in terms of "putting this stuff" out in public forums...

Steve has resorted to the old dysfunctional family "double bind" tactic... It's a common form of pseudo one-upsmanip and subtle abuse. The result is the sort of "entropy" where new information has a tough time moving people off their pre-conceived paradigms.
 
Just to clarify, it was the irony of Steve's post admonishing others not to look silly in public that made me chuckle. His post(s) have seemed rather silly to me.
 
'Frontiers' would clearly be the place to get the opinions of several well-known and widely respected experts in bird identification, but you all knew that right?

Which public sites were these calls posted on?
 
And to add, I applaud your efforts Frank, and those of your team. I only wish I were able to devote a few weeks, or months, to searching the swamps. I have a good eye and a good ear as well as plenty of patience, but I am far from an expert at bird identification. I don't suppose I have much to offer that you don't already have. Perhaps someday I will be able to join a search; until then, I hope you will continue to post your updates..

Regards,

EJS
 
@Steve

Mark posted the information on February 28 on the IBWO Forum. Frank followed with an announcement that anyone who contacted them would be taken seriously. If you'll scroll down below, you'll see that CT posted some blog entries at that point; I'd alerted him, but I'm nearly certain that was wholly unnecessary. I did want others to look at the IBWO Forum as well, however.

/sound of pasteboards scraping on felt as the dealer scoops up the last of the bet you just doubled down on
 
I was going to hold off on posting this, but it seems appropriate to follow-up on Concolor's comment. @Steve I'm not going to ask you rhetorical questions, and I'm going to treat you with a level of courtesy and respect that you haven't shown toward me or my associates, but that's just how I roll. We didn't post on Frontiers, although we might well have done so had the issue not been resolved when it was. After the audio was captured, we circulated it to a number of ornithologists and field biologists. It went through a review process (note that a week elapsed between the recording date and the posting date.) I only know the identities of a few of the people who gave their opinions. Responses I know of covered a gamut, including some who suggested IBWO was possible to likely and others who proposed some kind of amphibian, something that had been ruled out by several herpetologists. Outside of one suggestion that I considered untenable (not Sora), I'm not aware of anyone, other than Cyberhtrush (whose immature Common Moorhen wasn't bad but was out of season) who suggested an alternative bird species. Moreover, I'm not aware of anyone who proposed Sora, other than on this thread.

After we got some, but not all, of the feedback, we decided to make the audio public, based on the time element - if the calls had been IBWOs, it would have been urgent to obtain documentation and the window of opportunity might have been very narrow. Despite this public posting, we deemed it to be scientifically sound to continue to explore alternatives and identify the source of the calls, hence my comment about welcoming alternative hypotheses. When no substantive alternatives emerged (from you or anyone else), we opted to post the recordings on xeno-canto, since that site focuses on the identification of sounds (you probably could have figured that out for yourself, but I'm not going to play games.) If that's not somehow up to your standards, so be it, but that was our choice, and as Frank has already said, a top ear-birder and someone who believes the IBWO is extinct and takes a very dim view of IBWO searchers not only proposed amphibian but put it out on his Twitter feed for opinions. I hasten to add that this person has recorded Soras, including calls that are similar to the ones on our clips.

I suspect the reason that no one else (including people very familiar with their calls) suggested Sora is because the first series of calls went on for over five minutes with no typical Sora sounds mixed in (I have a sneaking suspicion you never actually listened), and there were no other typical Sora calls in the entire 30 minute original clip, or in the preceding fifteen minutes that were not recorded. I was more quickly persuaded that Sora was the likely source than some of the outside analysts (who are not part of the so-called IBWO community.) I'm not aware of any recordings of Sora that display such persistence, a persistence that may or may not be consistent with typical IBWO but that is evident on the Singer Tract recordings. On that basis alone, the recordings are significant for capturing a type of calling behavior that may be heretofore undocumented for Soras.

We've been forthright and transparent, and this whole process is (from my layman's perspective) exactly how science should work. We presented a hypothesis, tested it, disproved it, and settled on an alternative explanation. There's value in that. In addition, as far as I know, Sora has never been considered as a possible confusion species for IBWO. Now we know it has that potential, and not just because Frank and I thought these calls might conceivably be IBWO, although as we said all along, the sounds did not match the known recordings and we had our doubts.
 
Posting the sounds on the IBWO forum is clearly a recipe for disaster as evidenced by the debate of the last several years and surely you must see that? Any old noise or bark scaling on there is jumped on as evidence for IBWOs. Fred says above that Soras are easily mistaken for IBWOs by inexperienced birders. If you want reasoned, well-informed opinion borne of years of field experience, then use Frontiers or similar. The fact that you haven't used them tells its own story.

As for the process being scientific, well that's not worthy of a reply as there's nothing scientific about it. And you are STILL passing them off as 'may or may not be consistent with IBWO'. They aren't. Just because you couldn't readily identify the calls, they became serious contenders for IBWOs. Science? You're looking for the Higgs' boson before you know what a proton is.

And you're quite right, I didn't bother listening to the sounds.

Frank, stop thinking about my butthole - paper or otherwise - it's weird and I certainly wouldn't want to be in a swamp with you. I've seen Deliverance.
 
@Steve for someone who writes so well, your reading comprehension seems to be severely impaired. Or perhaps you're just willfully selective. Fred's entitled to his opinion (whatever his motivations), but it has already been made abundantly clear that VERY EXPERIENCED BIRDERS WITH YEARS OF FIELD EXPERIENCE AND KNOWLEDGE OF SORAS (not just people from IBWO.net) made the exact same call that we did. I'm sure they'd have a hearty laugh at or some choice words for Fred's remark about inexperience. It has also been stated repeatedly that WE DID NOT MISTAKE THE CALLS FOR IBWO. Moreover, in last night's post, I was not "passing them off" as anything other than Sora calls. I was simply pointing out what I suspect is the reason that some people didn't make the ID. Again, you either have some kind of intellectual impairment or you're deliberately quoting out of context to misrepresent what I actually said. I'm sorry xeno-canto isn't good enough for you. Why don't you go ahead and start an internet crusade agains the posters on that site. Now, I"m done feeding you. Get thee back under thy bridge.
 
If you didn't mistake them for IBWOs, what is this whole episode about?

Anyway, on Xeno-Canto you state that the calls were given at an elevation of 14m. No wonder people were confused as there isn't a bird that gives a Sora-type call from 14m up in a tree so no wonder Dan Lane suggested an amphib. You therefore set people up to fail and used their failure to cover your errors and bad practice. Why state 14m as fact when you clearly did not know where the calls were emanating from? This is the sort of sloppy 'science' that leads to, well, this sort of thing.
 
Not wishing to feed the troll anything other than some of its own excrement, but see how it began its diatribe here back on Jan 8:

Steve said...
This FAV character is a congenital liar and bullshitter.

8:43 AM

Silly from the beginning.
 
Additionally, Fred's remarks about 'inexperience' apply to you and not to those birders with extensive field experience for precisely the reasons I have given above. They didn't 'make exactly the same call', they didn't have the correct info to make even an educated guess. So there's no reason for Dan Lane to take any offence at Fred's remarks - and I seriously doubt the remarks were aimed that way. It's clear to me at least who Fred had in mind.

Kudos to Fred for Sora - but then maybe didn't have the 14m up a tree bit to confuse him?
 
Good Morning all you Morelocks and True Believers!!! It's a wonderful day here in Swampyworld, the sun is coming up, it's foggy, muggy and gonna' be REAL hot, so tell Mama to make some lemonade!

First things first... EJS - My most sincere apologies - sometimes when you wrestle a pig, the mud from the pit gets spattered on an innocent bystander. We appreciate your support, and for being so gracious, any time you can get to Louisiana, I'd be happy to take you critter watching in one of our areas. We usually see some pretty cool stuff. You can contact me through the email on the Project Coyote 2010 website.

I wanted to post this first... More in a bit...
 
I hear banjos... And I bet that Steve feller's got him some purty lips... Wonder if he looks anything like Ned Beatty? Naw, dude, I'm just not into the homoerotic hillbilly thing at all... You're the one who took it there.

Let's see... Where to start, where to start. First, Fred's remarks about inexperience were directed at ME, not Mark. It's kind of a running joke between us and you really don't have a clue as to the context.

It's pretty clear that in spite of the fact that you write well, you really don't have much of a clue about how the world works. In reference to your little dig about Mark's posting on the elevation, you ARE aware that on xeno-canto "elevation" refers to the typical elevation of the terrain expressed as Mean Sea Level? The posting immediately above Mark's must have led you to believe that the bird was 1,500 m (about 4900 ft.) up a tree... I want to see some of these mile high trees in Thailand - I'm booking my flight! They must DWARF those California Redwoods! The terrain in the area where the calls were recorded IS about 50 ft/14 meters MSL... So what's the problem?

As far as being confused/misled, by that, I'm sure that the experts who reviewed this recording were not. You seem to be the only one who is geographically ignorant and perhaps a bit confused.

As far as "mistaking" these calls for IBWO, that was never really on the table, no "mistake" was made. While vaguely similar to some of the historic recordings, they were far from compelling - even in the field. We wanted to establish the species in an effort to remove one more mystery noise from the repertoire of "possible" IBWO vocalizations.

Now, if you'll be a good little troll and go get back under your bridge, I'll have someone deliver you some goat meat...
 
Sorry, I conflated the elevation with Mark's statement of "mid-canopy" - which would indeed accommodate a height of 14 m.

You don't see many Sora Rails up in the mid-canopy, do you? So the point stands, notwithstanding the general 'elevation' comment. It wasn't mid-canopy, but the statement that it was would have thoroughly misled people.

Yes, I'm familiar with Xeno-canto and use it often, I made an error by assuming Mark was talking about height above ground after seeing his 'mid-canopy' comment. Admitting errors is easy. Not something you see a lot of in the IBWO world where the default position is "well you tell me what it is then, and if you can't, then it must be an IBWO".

So why was it claimed to be mid-canopy - giving the impression it could indeed be a woodpecker - when it was a terrestrial rail?
 
I don't understand why people like "Steve" are compelled to criticize and insult IBWO searchers when this kind of event occurs. The searchers basically said "We have these calls. We don't know what they are. Could be Ivorybills but could be something else. Anybody have suggestions?" And that draws snide remarks, insults, and childish complaints!? Sad. Very sad.
 
Unfortunately that isn't how it happens. Things are heard/seen and posited as potential IBWOs and it appears to be down to everyone else to prove otherwise. Which is why all the evidence is vague and debatable. See the awful photos of 'birds' on the Project Coyote website that are touted as potential/possible/probable IBWOs. It's difficult to argue a case as the photos don't really allow it, yet the people have managed to 'prove' that the birds are much too big to be PIWOs. It's funny in many ways but it could potentially wastes large sums of money and time as happened in the original searches after the Luneau video, which itself was poor enough to make the possibility of it being an IBWO difficult to comprehensively and clearly discount.

As I mentioned several times, these calls were claimed to be from the mid-canopy (where an IBWO might be found). They weren't from the mid canopy at all, but statements such as those make it difficult to formulate an appropriate counter-case.

The onus should be on the people claiming the bird to prove it is there. No-one has, as of today. If people will insist on claiming photos, audio, video is of IBWOs or potential/hard to disprove as IBWOs, then they have to step up and do the business or take the consequences. What would be your response if scientists continually claimed strong evidence for something yet never came up with the actual goods? After the first occasion people would be on guard, after the second they would probably be scathing.

For example, see the two photos labelled trap 5 and trap 6 respectively here: http://www.south-run.com/coyote/camera_trap.htm
The second bird is 29% birder than a Pileated - this is clearly claiming it must therefore be an IBWO. The photos are too poor to argue anything, in my opinion at least. And when this is the standard of evidence that is repetitively put forward, then a certain amount of robust criticism will ensue. It's so bad that I guess most people just can't be bothered with it anymore other than as a humorous distraction. I should know better myself of course.
 
Regarding the camera trap photos, are you really that bad of a reader that you didn't read the following statement:

"The authors of this website are fully aware that this image is not of sufficient quality to prove that the unknown bird is an Ivory-billed Woodpecker. At this juncture, any single image can and should be treated skeptically and scrutinized carefully."

Or is it that just can't bring yourself to admit they are being reasonable in their presentation of photos and recordings? I do not see anywhere they have claimed the photos and calls are IBWO. They freely admit they are not proof.

YOU are the one making baseless claims.
 
Yeah, I see what you mean about that IBWO claim on the coyote sight. A baseless claim of proof.

...oh wait... they wrote: "The authors of this website are fully aware that this image is not of sufficient quality to prove that the unknown bird is an Ivory-billed Woodpecker. At this juncture, any single image can and should be treated skeptically and scrutinized carefully."

Now that I read more carefully, every word, I don't see they did claim it was IBWO. Nowhere. Kinda like the ibwo forum posts. Hmmm. Maybe it is YOU that is making the baseless claims.
 
Expansive stretches of continents no longer harbor forests;
many birds are gone.

Ireland was so denuded it could not support the most diminutive of creatures;
the nuthatches are gone.

The hedgerows are removed for more crops;
the European Starlings and English Sparrows are going.

Those humans unable to escape these lands for exciting birds sometimes devolve into cynical trolls;
Crossley types are gone and are now here.

Is it jealousy that causes them to attack with such ignorant venom?

No harm done, we are immune to ignorance. Does one think that when this type has the guts to utter its real name, that its deep flaws suddenly disappear? The saliva that drips down their throats is a complex mixture of corrosive compounds that attack their heart and brain.

These pseudoskeptics will find no reprieve and the Ivory-billed lives unofficially and officially; unlike them we do not cower behind a unilaterally pilfered null-hypothesis .

They repeatedly broadcast their hypocrisy by criticizing minor flaws in methods and strategies while they have blinders to the far from perfect evidentiary record of extinction which demands perfection which they cannot approach even incrementally.

Myriads of sightings from competent people, multiple videos of large woodpeckers that cannot be explained as Pileateds according to the flight dynamics expert of NA Picidae, hundreds of recorded DKs and good kents, feathers from FL in '67, sighting in Cuba in '87 serving as an analog for species survival, IUCN and USFWS protection, etc., IS NOT PERFECTION as required of any correct extinction hypothesis.

We are highly skeptical of the old. dogmatic hypothesis until you do ALL the following:

get into the field and effectively perform presence-absence surveys to incrementally gather evidence that the "flat-earth" dogma of extinction is highly probable

stop doing these ridiculous extinction probability papers (the funniest thing happened to the first paper that used IB and California Wolverines as examples of this statistical extinction phenom----a wolverine was captured in a camera trap after years of failed attempts right before publication and the paper required an awkward, deflating insert).

advise us how several IBs lasted into at least '87 in a secondary forest, in a country whose summated hectares is a small, small fraction of what has been in the US for 80 years.

advise us how its so different and unbelievable that we have: Recently obtained a handful of proven to suggestive videos of IBs/odd large woodpeckers, yet in Cuba where the bird was unequivocally present there were no pictures for 40 consecutive years (and possibly still counting).

advise us when the paper on IBs in FL WITH FEATHERS as PROOF from '67 will be withdrawn or discredited .

advise us when the USFWS and the AR BRC will withdraw their vote that the IB exists.

And finally as we are told over and over for the critically endangered IB....................when are you going to produce the magical Pileated that flaps + 8 Hz/s in level flight like the alleged IB FILMED TWICE. It should be easy, the Pileated does exist and in great numbers! Have you seen the Imperial Woodpecker video, the lead pseudoskeptics (Bevier, Sibley) were off by 300% in heuristic prediction of the flap Hz of the IMWO.

We are skeptical that the lead artist, et al. did an accurate job in their flawed rebuttal of the original Science paper.

Those needing their life Pileated which shows a lack of required prerequisites to even know what the heck the above even means, need not rebut but failing the warning, advanced thanks for the laugh . Also learning your Sora notes is recommended otherwise its evident you cast false superiority with no basis for the assertion .

tks FAV
 
On the ID flap or should I say Soragate--Self awareness by those in the field, as beginners to intermediate birders, resulted in them being cautious as they are learning songs/calls, hence they gathered significant contacts.

The answer evidently eluded the early mentors, swelling the review ranks as Soragate deepened. The recordists were so inclusive in honestly seeking an answer that the ad hoc “committee” included ardent skeptics; no kangaroo court existed.

cont.
 
cont.

Now do some of us need a committee to ID birds? No, but in this atmosphere one can make an argument that even if the ID is confident and "surely an IBWO" its prudent to screen it through a committee before release.

Some on this committee are skeptics (pseudoskeptics ?, not sure); some not. Evidently those in each opinion set exhibited some preconceived biases or group think, skeptics proposing birds other than IB with some of them wandering into the completely wrong vertebrate class (Mammalia and Amphibia rather than Aves). Those who believe or Know the IB exists were a bit more open to the possibility of the calls being IB and evidently one voiced a stronger opinion. This could ,for someone trying to be inflammatory, highlight the hypocrisy of those who claim only one side of this issue exhibits faith based science; we will not go that way.

In defense of the “committee”, they are busy like most of us; they may have spent little time on the problem and some may be inexperienced in the breadth of the Soras repertoire or Feb Sora calls. One sometimes attributes odd capabilities to fine people that they may not possess. For example someone once said Coonass was hilarious when the opposite is true when you get him stuck on a forest track due to your insistence “he has a vivid imagination thinking driving in there will be a problem”. Then it rains and gumbo road swallows you for many hours of horror.

It was clearly stated the birds were in a flooded area in LA IN mid-FEB, Soras should not have been crossed off a list of possibilities. Additionally as I wrote days before those experienced with Soras realize the incoming call is multidirectional as far as pinpointing a source, making height estimates dismissable as I did. Of less importance, aren't the notes of Corncrakes, Little Crakes, Water Rail etc. in Europe showing the same carrying characteristics?

Regardless the act of not IDing a rail as a rail is much less harmful on various levels than calling something an IBWO when it isn't. Putative IBs HAVE NEVER been reported in the last 70 years as producing anything near a hundred notes in five minutes. The Singer tapes of ~ 10:27 is the same 5:13 track doubled and each 5 m track is made up of many disjunct cuts; and the birds were nervous with people near the nest, upsetting the birds. IBs are wary, pensive birds that were likely hunted by imitating and/or following their vocalizations and then killing them. Adult IBs, calling for any reason at a rate of 100/5 m is a huge red flag for an error. Those in the field recently have heard this said many times and must have dismissed it. The idea that modern birds call incessantly is a false construct used by skeptics but not usually modern searchers.

There also seemed to have been no consensus at all that these were IBs yet is seemed to become a probable pair of IB. One wonders what the expert reviewers of the excellent 2009 tape had said about the 2009 sounds. Its almost certainly IBs in that tape; it was recorded by the same field people as here. One wonders if the 2009 tapes, wrongly called by the experts as "nothing" or "equivocal" influenced the recent final call by the field people that these are possible IBs in 2012.

The final determination and credit of such an important call as a pair of IBs can not be easily claimed by off site reviewers if the call is right and conversely cannot be abdicated by the field people if wrong. The field people have a great advantage over those like me that are asked to listen to a file.

The IB has a fairly distinct call and DK IN THE FIELD. There is no great reason to mistake it with a small amount of IBWO experience; one needs no Sora experience. They do not sound alike at all. I would think the field people no matter what the perceived value of expert input should be the responsible final arbitrater.

Anyway these fellas kept many pins in the air and in general it may prove to be a good experience.

tks
 
So what is the bird that has been 'shown' to be 29% larger than a PIWO? It sure looks like a woodpecker, so? Someone try and explain that one

And what happened to those birds you've seen Fred? No photos? no involvement from any major organisations?

No nothing. Your 'minor flaw' that you say we fixate on is actually a total lack of birds. Same as it ever was. For all the talk of trolls whenever anyone asks to see the money, all we get is distraction and diversion. And overly-long posts full of florid prose, hyperbole and ridiculous claims and implications that FAV has recent field experience of the species. Same as it ever was. Just funnier.

Heuristics? It's a bird. Let's see it.
 
C'mon guys and gals - it's 29% bigger than a PIWO - proved by math to boot. A vagrant, a new species of woodpecker or an IBWO, so either way I'd say that was very newsworthy and yet there's hardly been a ripple on the pond. And no-one seems to want to explain or support it either. At least it's definitely up a tree this time.
 
he's missing from the turnip truck again.

Many researchers have signed various confidentiality agreements or for other reasons do not release everything or anything. Some have nothing of sustance.


Other studies, such as the 4 federally approved attraction studies and several others sharing methods, study Picidae approach and vocal reactions to DKs and kents. These studies are ongoing.

The abstract of these attraction studies does not focus on obtaining photographic evidence but is more associated with tuning/testing presence-absence acoustical point survey methods and gathering data and collating results in relation to developing netting methods.

Results on presence absence are very satisfactory and correlate well with historical comments on IB density and independant, contemporary ARU results.

A very few have (maybe only one of us) had an opinion for several years that these "picture chases" will be largely unsuccessful and even if successful, the pragmatic information gathered from a picture of a single bird provides minimal conservation value compared to a netted/radioed/blood sampled bird that will lead scientists to more birds.

The netting process can then be
self-propagating if one is optimistic and fortunate.

tks
 
Fred, from my lofty viewpoint on the back of the turnip truck, I disagree with your opinion that a photo may not be useful in conservation terms and I would point to the interest and resources generated by the fuzzy Luneau video (that wasn't even an IBWO!).

In light of this, a "netted/radioed/blood sampled bird that will lead scientists to more birds" would obviously be photographable as well. It could even have your smiling face next to it. Surely it can't be long now? Especially as "results on presence absence are very satisfactory and correlate well with historical comments on IB density and independant, contemporary ARU results". Sounds very promising. That self-propagating netting process is just around the corner, no? Time to put the champagne on ice.

So, for some entertainment, howbout that 29% bigger than PIWO pecker? That's more than you've produced so far Fred and they've got incontrovertible math on their side, I mean just count those pixels man. Or do you think they may - heaven above - have got it, gulp, wrong?

Turnip trucks look mighty fine to a men who have to walk everywhere. Come on up folks.
 
Ah well, an absence of a discussion is better than a discussion of absence. And certainly better than claims of IBWO identified on the number of pixels they contain, or on the basis of the calls of terrestrial rallids given from the mid-canopy. Try again boys and come back when you have something worth looking at.

Until next time.
 
Can someone advise this lost soul that we can't possibly learn anything from him on the presence or alleged extinction of the IB. He is useless to either side.

It's obvious he has no knowledge of the ESA or field experience in the SE US, never seen a Pileated, never heard a Swainson's Warbler let alone an actual Singer-like kent or strong DK in NA.

To address his poor comprehension of what was said: I related that a pix had relatively less conservation value and that a bird in the hand is orders of magnitude better for the species. Radioing a population rather than a picture of a lone, single bird triggers important provisions of the Magna Carta of the Environment, the ESA.

Without certain ESA mandated actions its more difficult to conserve the IB. A picture of a single bird does not cut it, nor a series of pictures spaced over years or decades.

A large segment of the searchers and believers are concentrating on the picture chase which is about what this fool, pseudoskeptics and some skeptics wanted. The few dedicated to getting out there have unwittingly and happily left the authors of the recovery plan off the hook.

The plan should have included actively attempting to net birds. They fly everyday but they very, very rarely pose.

Endangered birds of various sizes presenting unique logistical difficulties, such as the California Condor, Kirtland's Warbler, Whooping Crane, Peregrine Falcon, Bald Eagle, etc. are routinely netted in the wild even amid past controversy and constant risks.

Certainly netting is a difficult task but so is the picture chase; the difference is the reward to risk----the data from a bird in the hand dwarfs the info and protection implications of a picture. A picture every 5 years will only be captioned the "last bird" by the pseudoskeptics.

We must wonder what we are doing when an ill-informed troll, who unknowingly represents all supporters of poor strategies/methods/plans, wants us to continue on a path that leads us in a never ending circle.

tks

Fv
 
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