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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

Friday, November 11, 2005


-- More Words From The Past --

A bit of Jerry Jackson as we head into the weekend -- Back in his 1989 (pre-Pearl River and Big Woods) report to the Government USF&W, after extensive study of Ivory-bill natural history and searching, IBWO expert Dr. Jerome Jackson wrote the following (not all readers will know the specific cases he makes reference to, but you'll understand the gist, and a near identical passage appears in his current book as well):
"Perhaps we can dismiss the photographs that George Lowery presented to the ornithological community. Perhaps we can dismiss the sightings reported by Whitney Eastman. Perhaps we can dismiss the sightings of John Dennis. Perhaps we can explain away the Dennis tape recordings that were analyzed by Hardy. Maybe there is a miniscule chance that the recording made by Reynard isn’t of an Ivory-bill. Perhaps we can dismiss the response to tape recordings that were heard by Robert Manns, Malcolm Hodges, and myself or the birds heard by Fred Sibley and Ted Davis. But the list goes on and on -- right up to the present. If each of these observations has any probability at all of having been real, these probabilities add up. It is unlikely that all of these reports are misidentifications."
Additionally, Jackson concluded the following regarding possible ivory-bill locales:
"...the most likely states in which ivory-bills might still exist are, in order of likelihood: Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi. South Carolina, Georgia, and Texas would be next, and Alabama and Arkansas would be behind them."

Hmmm... Arkansas last? After years of study was Jackson just flat-out wrong, or did he have it right and the now sought-after AR. birds are in fact just one of the smaller populations of ivory-bills out there to be discovered???

Notice that despite his skepticism regarding the evidence presented by Cornell Jackson is a member of the Ivory-bill recovery team set-up by the USFWS after the discovery of the Ivory-bill in Arkansas. He is in the biology working group.

It is fortunate that the science adviser to Secretary of Interior Gale Norton is Dr. James Tate, who, besides being an ornithologist, is also a woodpecker specialist - the subject of his PhD dissertation. In "In Search of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker" Jackson mentions that when he took his job at Mississipi State University in 1970, Tate, who was then assistant director of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, sent him an old clarinet mouthpiece for him to imitate ivory-bills in his searchs which Tate also encouraged Jackson to undertake.
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