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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

Sunday, February 19, 2006


-- IVORY-BILLS IN THE PEARL!! + Jackson Searches --

Mike Collins is officially reporting having located a pair of Ivory-bills in a remote part of the Pearl River region he has been searching! Here is part of his post announcing his find:
"...I can now say with certainty that ivorybills exist in the Pearl. There is at least one pair. I am asking everyone to show the same restraint that you have shown in Arkansas. Please don't come here now. Wait until more is known about ivorybill populations. Wait until a blind is set up at a nest or roost so that ivorybills can be observed without disturbing them. Better yet, go find other populations of ivorybills. Coming here would be potentially detrimental to the birds. It would almost certainly be a waste of time. The Pearl is a vast area. The birds are in a remote location that is difficult and dangerous to reach. Even if I disclosed the location, it would be extremely difficult to locate the birds...."

His entire post is under "Feb. 18" at: http://www.fishcrow.com/winter06.html

A bit anti-climactical under the circumstances, but also worth reporting, that Jerry Jackson is actively searching the Fackahatchee Preserve area in Collier County, Fla. which he believes to be some of the best available habitat for the species. See:


Addendum: In response to some questions, Mike C. added a few more details to his info in a BirdForum post, as follows:
"There are two birds together. I don't yet know if they are a mated pair. Of course, I have attempted to get a photo and will continue to do so. I have invited two of the most well-known ornithologists. It is important that they act quickly. I thought hunting season was over, but some hunters remain in the area. Gunshots went off nearby when I heard the two birds together. Turkey season begins soon. It could very well be that these birds have had nest failures every year due to disturbances from human activities. The ornithologists have the power to ensure they are protected. In fact, they have that responsibility in my opinion. It would simply be a matter of closing the small area where a nest is suspected."

I read his day by day reports. He has little details about the sightings. Did I miss something when I read this?
Very exciting--I am keeping my fingers crossed.
I'll believe it when I see it.

I tend to "believe" the Luneau video, but unless there's a similar (or better) video forthcoming from the Pearl, this report is just another one on the crap pile. With that said, I hope Mike can produce something.
"Crap pile" is extremely harsh. Go read all of Mike's posts on birdforum, and you will see that he is a knowledgeable and serious searcher who is very scrupulous about what he reports. Until today, he did not say anything with certainty.

Today, he described seven sightings and a number of auditory encounters, including two birds communicating with each other. He also says he got a good enough look at the head of one bird to be fairly sure it's a female.

His account doesn't read like the product of wishful thinking, and he's been so forthright about his uncertainty up to now that it's far-fetched to think he'd fabricate the sightings.

The demand for photographic or video proof seems excessive to me, since this appears to extremely difficult to obtain. All forms of proof are subject to challenge, and I would suggest that either audiotapes or confirmation from a second knowledgeable observer would be equally valid. That said, reading between the lines of Mike's account makes me think that photographic proof is likely to be coming out of the Pearl before long.
Nothing to get excited about yet.
All seven of his sightings have
been of birds in flight. In order
to quiet the skeptics Mike will
need to obtain a photo or video
of a perched bird or of a flying bird that shows the characteristic features (unfuzzy) of an Ivory-bill. In other words, an in-focus,
clear, undebatable photo or video.

I hope he is able to accomplish
on the Pearl what Cornell has been unable to do in Arkansas!
I have kept up with the details of Mike's search on both BirdForum and his site. I am also inclined to believe he has not fabricated this data.

I think, with time, Mike may have a good chance of getting a photo of these birds.

Way to go, Mike
This news is very uplifting as I agree the "crap pile" remark was very insulting to someone who is going about this the right way and has the safety of the birds as his main objective.
Oh to be in his shoes even if his shoes are wet... his story seems authentic. He mentioned two ornithologists with the ability to
close off an area and his writings and the dark headed female will have me checking every day. It's OK to be skeptical, but most skeptics believe there is a 10% chance the bird does exist. (They don't like the Luneau bird).

Paul Sutera, New Paltz, NY
First, let me say I hope he has found a pair. But in one line to describe how remote and dangerous it is to get there and then propose they are disturbed so often they have been unable to fledge, well............????
Any comments on the recordings on his site?
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