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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, February 03, 2006


-- Zickefoose Tutorial --

Self-taught artist Julie Zickefoose has an interesting step-by-step post from Thur. detailing how she went about painting an Ivory-bill "booking through Bayou de View" for the cover of last month's edition of "The Auk" journal. Interesting read, and this is just her first installment on the story, so there may well be more coming today.



I enjoyed reading Julie's article, as I do much of her work.

I find both Julie and Larry Chandler to be very talented artists and both seem to be quite knowledgeable of birds. I really like many of the pencil illustrations Julie has on her website.

Regarding Julies IBWO illustration -
I was very happy to see that Julie decided to spread the primaries on the flight feathers. I distinctly remember spread primary flight feathers on a male bird I saw in flight many years ago (as opposed to the closed "more ducklike" primaries).

Below is a portion of a post I sent to Julie back on 12/09/05 regarding her illustration as it was "in the works".

sincerely, Steve Sheridan



Hello Julie

I just read your post yesterday on Birdchick.com regarding problems/issues you were having regarding the Ivory-bill flight pattern and appearance of the bird from a frontal angle in flight. Here is some info. that may help you.

Web link for reference, last updated 8/24/05.
The added 8/24/05 addendum goes into more detail on the flight pattern and angles, also, downloadable PDF 5 of 6 also explains flying detail with illustrations.

Refer to


The Arkansas data seems to support a very direct flight with shallow wing beats, but I must point out this is often on spooked birds flying very fast.

My second sighting data indicates that when the IBWO is not spooked or distressed, it flies much slower with deep downward wing beats. The undulation was no where near as pronounced as what is normally seen in some Pileated flight patterns.

Although the wings of the IBWO have been described by many as "duck like", I do not agree with that statement. When the bird has a strong downward wing stroke, the primaries flare much more than anything I have seen in a flying duck (ref. Mallard, pintail or woodduck).

My data is also backed up by the following information

•A Dr. Bill Ellis had a 2005 IBWO sighting in Arkansas (reported to Cornell) in which he describes the bird's flight as straight but with VERY SLOW wing beats, which he likened to the slow wing beats of a turkey vulture gaining altitude.

•An individual I spoke with at great length from Mississippi (who wishes to remain anonymous) described the flight of an unhurried female IBWO as very slightly undulating, looking rather like the flight of an egret or heron, with slow deep downward wing beats.

Steve Sheridan writes - I can tell you from my second sighting that the IBWO looks rather black in color when it is flying straight toward you from a far distance (100 yards). The white is not immediately apparent at this distance, it only becomes apparent (from a frontal angle) as the bird draws closer.

I hope this info. helps

Pretty ironic that the Auk cover-painter knows damn good and well that the bird in the Luneau video is not a pileated, and the article-writer in Auk runs around proclaiming that it is.
"Pretty ironic that the Auk cover-painter knows damn good and well that the bird in the Luneau video is not a pileated."

I'm not sure she does.
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