"....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.”
"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, December 21, 2005
-- Dear Virginia... --
The end of year is always a time for Top 10 Lists, so here goes....
--- Top 10 Reasons Why the Skeptics (Grinches?) are Wrong :
10. They forever underestimate the density, vastness, and inaccessibliity of the areas in need of searching.
9. They don't comprehend that large-scale, organized searches have never been conducted for this bird (Pearl River having been the largest, and now most of those participants saying it too was inadequate). You can't find something that isn't adequately and meaningfully looked for. (Skeptics think lots of individuals on their own meandering around the woodland over time constitute adequate searching.)
8. They presume there have been no sightings during the past 60 years simply because none of the 100s of reports to come in (let alone those sightings never turned in, in part, because of the ridicule people fear from skeptics) have been verified with clear photographic evidence -- has any other creature with so many claimed sightings, been so quickly written off as extinct -- it's easy to deny the existence of anything if you simply deny the validity of every report of it turned in.
7. They fail to appreciate the adaptability, tenaciousness, and instincts of long-lived creatures, perceiving them as simple automatons subservient to human analysis and prognostication.
6. They place tremendous trust in the unverified and often tentative conclusions/generalizations of a single grad student from 70 years ago and think them applicable to all Ivory-bills in all locales, while distrusting the claims of all other sighters since the 1950s.
5. They fail to understand that a bird which routinely perches high in tree canopies can see a human approaching long before the human sees it, and depart in an opposite direction... again and again and again and...
4. They don't realize that a bird inside a treehole (where IBWOs spend a fair amount of time) is completely invisible to human sight (...except for Clark Kent's).
3. There have been too many credible reports since the 1950s, not to mention the verified sightings in nearby Cuba in the late 1980s, for all of them to be shrugged off. Extinction, like the death penalty, should never be declared when 'reasonable doubt' (of extinction) still lingers.
2. They greatly overestimate the ease with which photographic evidence can be obtained. Most IBWO spotters of the past likely lacked cameras. Especially underestimated is the difficulty of photographing quick-moving objects in dense habitat, or of getting close enough to a bird even of IBWO-size to snap clear photos -- requires close proximity or telephoto lens (not to mention stealth, good light, quickness, balance, luck...). Tanner only got pics of IBWO in a locale where an experienced guide was able to lead him to them -- in his 3-year search, despite believing they still existed in both S.C. and Fla., without such a guide, Tanner, for all his supposed expertise, could neither find them nor photograph them.
1. Finally, if there are no more Ivory-bills out there then next thing you know Virginia, people will be saying there is no Santa Claus either!!! =: - 0
an Ivory-bill from a distance of 50 ft.? The bird was hanging
on a tree only 15 ft. above
ground level in full view.
She was standing on a road
and was not way back in the
vast, deep, dark, impenetrable
Didn't David Kulivan report
seeing a pair of foraging
Ivory-bills at close range
in Louisiana? (no photos)
Doesn't sound like secretive
birds hiding in the canopy or
in a roost cavity and doing
everything in their power to
avoid being detected by
As long as there are Pileated
Woodpeckers people will
continue to report Ivory-
10. They forever cite the vast wilderness which makes the bird impossible to find. This despite the fact that the bird was repeatedly found when nearly extinct by less people with less effort and primitive technology.
9. They don't comprehend that the largest search in Ivory-bill history has happened over the last few years. It has produced a total of zero photos. The also don't realize that any bonehead with a video camera can get "THE video." They also don't appreciate that the south is often carpeted with hunters waiting quietly in camouflage in the forest. MOST of them carry cameras.
8. They assume that numerous reports mean there MUST be living Ivory-bills. With that reasoning, Elvis is alive, Bigfoots roam the forests, aliens have landed, and the Loch Ness monster makes boating hazardous.
7. They fail to acknowledge that extinction is the norm no matter how tenacious life is.
6. If the current "sightings" don't match Tanner's observations, they assume that Tanner's doctoral dissertation, based on three years of actual observation of living birds, must be wrong, not that the sightings are suspect.
5. They fail to understand that no living warm-blooded creature of that size can elude humans consistently, especially stationary humans in camo (including hunters) and automatic cameras.
4. They fail to acknowledge that roosting/nesting holes actually increase the chances of getting good Ivory-bill photos, as old film footage and photos prove.
3. None of the sightings need to be "shrugged off," but not one stands as proof. It's not necessary to declare the bird extinct, just as it's not necessary to declare the bird alive when it's still not proven.
2. Prior to the mid-40's, the birds were repeatedly found and closely observed. Who found the bird for the guides? Wasn’t Sparling the current guide? It is MUCH EASIER to get good photos now, yet there are NO good photos. The difference? Quite probably, no birds.
1. If you believe hard enough, it won't make Santa OR the Ivory-bills real.
The Ivory-billed Woodpecker is EXTINCT and every so-called IBWO sighting since, I do not know, the 40's or 50's ??, are all misidentified as Pileated Woodpeckers!
There the debate is over! The skeptics are right and all those believers are wrong. GOOD! So let close down all the IBWO blogs and lets act like we did in 2003 when most people could care a rat ass about IBWO's.
Lets go back to the time when Jerome Jackson was the only lunatic running around Florida and other states looking for the IBWO. Its funny back before 2004 Jerome was basically the only firm believer that IBWO still exist! Prior to the Cornell announcement last April, Jerome was dissed by Cornell and wasn't invited to search for the woodpecker in Arkansas (2004) and now Jerome is going on PBS (NOVA)to announce to the birding community that Cornell did not see a IBWO or take the side that IBWO are extinct? WEIRD!
Anyway the bird is extinct, the skeptics are right, the believers are wrong, Tom and Buck can do their victory dance, David Sibley can spare us his manuscript, and life will go on!
Will I ever take back all the things I said about Tom? HELL NO! LOLOLOLOLOL
Mike "Stonecoldbirder" Hendrickson
others on these blogs and
forums? I don't get it....
what does it get you?
I know...people just ignore
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