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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, January 20, 2006


-- Jackson Paper Available --

Jerry Jackson's Jan. "Auk" paper (15 pgs.) is now available on the web (pdf file) through the AOU homepage. Haven't had a chance to read it entirely myself yet, so may say more later.

Addendum: stay tuned, I'll definitely have more to say about the paper before the weekend is out; in the meantime I highly recommend it to all.

That was a big bucket of cold water.

It does seem bizarre that they kept Jackson and others out of the loop during the original search. I wonder how far back that bad blood goes.
The truth is out there, but only when I say so.

Nice to see Dr. JJ cares more about science than IBWO, real nice.

I don't see how he can find time to do any searching, seems to busy developing his arguements.

I know that you said he is searching, or is that just lip service, and is he going to make his search efforts public.

I really wish he would spend his time and energy in a positive way, in the field.

I have the feeling he gave up long ago.
Jackson is not putting science before the IBWO. Instead, he’s rightly putting science before the Arkansas marketing extravaganza. What he did is clearly important. He discusses the possible consequences if this all turns out badly, such as a loss of trust and possibly fewer resources the next time the bird is “found” somewhere (following Jackson’s gratuitious use of scare quotes ). Something like this needs honest brokers, and unfortunately we can’t count on Cornell or TNC to play that role. Jackson and other woodpecker researchers should’ve been brought in at the very start.

I work in a not-for-profit institution that develops technology. People who started out as physicists or engineers become marketeers when they move into management. They have to sell programs to pay for salaries and support facilities. It’s a constant scramble for money and relevance. While doing this they tend to lose interest in the technical details, embrace the “big picture,” and then suffer chronic Wishful Thinking Syndrome (WTS). They come to believe their own ambitious and optimistic marketing pitches as well as their “thumbs up” reporting to their superiors.

Fitzpatrick’s primary job as the Lab’s director is probably marketing as well. Not only is he responsible for salaries, facilities and the support for their programs, he’s got to get at least some of this money from donors(!) And in the end, he’ll probably be judged on how well he “grew” the Lab, making it more prominent in ornithology than when he arrived. One of the ways of becoming more prominent is to horde new opportunities. Maybe that’s why they didn’t include Jackson and others. If so, that’s putting Cornell’s interests well ahead of the IBWO, and that wouldn't be right.

On another note, what’s striking about the video controversy to me now is not that Jackson and the others aren’t convinced it’s an IBWO, it’s that they’re certain it’s an ordinary pileated. That is a huge difference. As he mentions, they pulled their paper for the immediate greater good, not because they necessarily bought the acoustic evidence.
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