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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."

-- Arthur Schopenhauer

Friday, August 19, 2005


-- Interesting Question! --

The following question was posed today by a trained ornithologist on the Carolina bird listserv. The photo referred to is the same one used to in-line Phil Hoose's book, thus has had wide distribution, yet I've never heard this obvious question raised. Maybe it simply involves a trick of lighting, or does someone have other explanations...
"Greetings all, I just received my copy of North American Birds with the IBWO coverage and Dave Sibley's paintings. Very consistent with all the other artistic renditions of IBWO in flight, it raises a most interesting question. In AC Bent's Life Histories of NA Woodpeckers, is a nice series of IBWO photos by AA Allen in April 1935. One of the photos shows a bird in flight almost directly overhead. All the paintings of the underwing illustrate two bars of white; one on the leading edge and one on the trailing edge with a narrow strip of black in the middle. However, in the photo, the underwing pattern appears to be very different and more like the upperwing pattern (unless the photographed bird is flying upside down) as follows: Leading edge of the wing and about 40% of the underwing from the leading edge are black. The 60% of the wing including the trailing edge to the outermost primaries are pure white. Again, based on what I can discern in the photo, the underwing appears to be two-toned, not three-toned as is painted. Best I can tell, there are one of two possibilities: 1) the photo is somehow not showing the underwing pattern correctly. 2) RT Peterson (first to paint it) got it wrong and every artist since has copied him. I'd love some input on this (but please look at the photo before commenting)."


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