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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.

Web ivorybills.blogspot.com

"....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, October 10, 2005


-- April 1999 (Back to Pearl River) --

Those who doubt the Arkansas Ivory-bill claims, of course also doubt David Kulivan's sighting of 2 Ivory-bills at Pearl River in 1999. Kulivan was grilled more than any IBWO claimant prior to the AR. reports. To my knowledge NO ONE ever came away from questioning David thinking a hoax or prank even might be involved; indeed all interviewers were impressed with David's apparent sincerity and genuineness. So tossing out the likelihood of a hoax we are left once again with but one other possibility: mistaken identity.
David claimed he watched the 2 birds forage for several minutes on different trees from different angles, as close as 20 yards, and gave an accurate description of them as male and female Ivory-bills. I don't believe anyone familiar with the woods and Pileateds (as David was) could see 2 birds the size of Pileateds THAT close for THAT long and mistake them for something else. So we are left with 2 basic possibilities:

1. David saw 2 Ivory-bills (possibly just passing through the area -- IBWOs were well known historically for travelling in pairs), or...

2. David saw two Pileateds, but since his description was totally wrong for them, he must've ALSO been wrong (in my opinion) about how long he saw them for, and how close he was to them (sincere, but WRONG)... in short, almost ALL the pertinent details of his report must somehow be wrong, and yet not deliberately so (not lying).

Which is really more likely; that he crossed paths with 2 Ivory-bills, or that he is sincere but in error on all details of his report? (Those whose minds are already pre-made up beforehand may answer one way, and those who treat each and every sighting as a separate case to be reviewed on its own merits may answer another.)

It's really a bummer that he didn't have a camera with him. Since he knew they were Ivory-bills, and he realized what a significant sighting it was, he could have gotten a photo.

Wait a minute, he DID have a camera! You'd think since he watched them for several minutes at close range that he'd have tried to take a photo.

And it WAS April Fool's Day.
I talked to Kulivan sometime back and I believe he saw ivorybills. From my brief time with him and from what others have said, he comes across as a level headed fellow. I'm sure he feels great vindication from the confirmed IBWP sightings in Arkansas.

In regards to the camera issue, I believe it was fastened in his backpack and he did not feel he could get to it without alarming the birds. That sounds very plausible to me.

With blowdowns and other tree damage from Katrina, I would think
the Pearl would be woodpecker heaven for the next few years.
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