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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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Sunday, November 13, 2005

 

-- Ivory-bill Estimates --

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After the initial announcement of Arkansas Ivory-bills I attempted to estimate how many IBWOs might remain in the entire American Southeast, based on distribution of previous reports, habitat availability, time passed since Tanner's study, possible breeding and death rates, and... intuition. As best I can recall the numbers I arrived at ranged from a low estimate of ~45 birds to a high of possibly ~125. These numbers were based on such imprecise and hard-to-quantify data and assumptions, that I presumed they would be scoffed at as absurdly optimistic.
Now, some folks on a BirdForum thread, using dead timber density and other 'carrying capacity' factors as guides, are throwing out possible Ivory-bill estimates of well over 100 birds for just AR. and LA. alone; thus, I'm a bit more heartened that in the end my figures might just prove to be moderate or even conservative, rather than insanely optimistic.
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Comments:
Is the current IBWO population greater, lesser, or about the same of the population that was around circa 1940s and the devastation of what was left of the Southern primeval forest?

Is the bird still on the slide to the finality of extinction, or are the numbers slowly getting better as the habitat returns?

Impossible to answer, of course, but these are things I would love to know.
 
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