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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

Saturday, March 11, 2006


-- More of Same...? --

Mary Scott is reporting another IBWO sighting along the "Mississippi flyway" but without much comment or info:

Unfortunately, skeptics have promoted their viewpoint so well at this point, that these reports of Ivory-bills without details or video are becoming meaningless to many at this point (and there are always more reports floating around than those that show up on the internet). Maybe Mike Collins will be able to get better video in La. or have other credible observers confirm his find before he departs the region. With about 45 days remaining in the prime search season time's a'movin in Ar., La, Ms., Fl., S.C., Tx., Ga.....

I don't see the rumous and anonymous reports as much of a problem. Some will prove to be unfounded. Others will have more basis. It's the nature of the net -- and for the most part a positive thing -- that these reports get circulated. Personally, I would hesitate to post something as vague as the latest item on Mary Scott's site; she has published other sketchy reports, but she has also played a very important role in the process - inspiring searchers and providing information. Her credulity may provide the skeptics with ammunition, but that's a small price to pay for her contributions.

Time may be getting short, but this is only the first year in which concerted efforts are being made in a number of areas simultaneously, and in some of those areas (the Congaree, for example) the searching began quite late.

I suspect that a great deal of information will emerge over the next five years, and while controversy over certain sightings will persist, virtually all the skeptics will be satisfied that the ivory-bill exists. Someone is going to get that money shot.

I won't be at all surprised if the numbers turn out to be significantly greater than is generally thought - on the order of 100-150 birds - with several distinct breeding populations, although it's clear that doing a meaningful census will be extremely difficult.
I think there's way too much attention paid to skeptics. Unless they provide contrary evidence or something else useful, like Jackson will presumably someday prove the Luneau bird is a pileated, who cares that they're skeptical. They can tell it to their dog.

Ultimately the burden of proof is on those saying the bird still exists, but this isn't a criminal trial. I think most people here are interested in following and helping the search to its eventual conclusion, whatever that is.
"They can tell it to their dog."

Thanks for the advice! I don't have a dog, but I just tried to explain the arguments at this
link to my neighbor's beagle.

(Unfortunately, he didn't seem very receptive.)
"Unfortunately, skeptics have promoted their viewpoint so well at this point, that these reports of Ivory-bills without details or video are becoming meaningless to many at this point"

Why would you fault skeptics for attempting to increase the level of "proof"? Reports without details or video were meaningless well before now and their "meaning" in the past was only due to the scarcity of reports with details or video.
First there is NO SUCH thing as "proof" in science, just levels of evidence, but I won't get into the semantics of that argument -- nor can you offer any proof to someone who believes that men never landed on the moon or the Holocaust never happened; you can only offer eivdence which they can ALWAYS offer ALTERNATIVE explanations for. If the Ivory-bill goes extinct it WON'T now be because of the hunters and loggers of yesteryear, but literally because of the skeptics who so delayed any serious consideration of the species from happening. It is a simple case where the potential damage done by undue skepticism far exceeds the potential damage done by undue optimism.
Thank you for saying that. It is for this reason that I find much of the rhetoric of the skeptics so pernicious. Why haven't they ever applied their vaunted skepticism to the highly questionable premise that the ivory-bill is extinct, the starting point of most of their arguments?

I submit that it is because many of them are not true skeptics. They are pursuing other agendas under the cover of "skepticism".
I think sight reports have to be taken in the proper perspective. What I mean is that we shouldn't be putting too much stock in them as evidence or "proof". Their value is in directing more intensive search efforts, either by professional institutions or "recreational" IBWO hunters.

I'll agree that in many cases they shouldn't be dismissed out of hand, which has occurred by the pros many times in the past (and which will continue into the future). But we should also not blindly accept them, and because we often cannot judge or trust the competence or intentions of the reporter, we are left having to rely on the existence of (relatively) unequivocal physical evidence (video, photo, etc.), or at least on the ability to obtain subsequent observations by other independent observers.

If we're unable to follow up a sighting with other observations, what is its value to conservation anyway? We can't study the bird and learn more about its natural history. We would have almost nothing to go on to learn about its habitat and dietary preferences.

So reports of sightings should be taken in the proper context -- great information for those wanting to follow up on the report and hunt for Ivory-billeds, but otherwise, we shouldn't have expectations for them to "officially" establish the presence of the bird.
"or at least on the ability to obtain subsequent observations by other independent observers."

There have been multiple reports of visual and auditory encounters from the Pearl in the last 7 years by independent observers. Why should that not qualify as satisfactory proof?
BTW, I'm assuming you're reading these comments, Mr. Nelson, so I have a question for you: would you approve a comment such as the one you just left here on your own blog?

While I'm on the subject, I also like how you're critical of Cornell putting a spin on their releases, but you are guilty of the same offense. Just about every article you present on your blog is preceded by a leading comment such as "This excellent article..." or a posting title similarly designed to affect the emotions of the reader for anything presenting the skeptical side. On the other side, you offer statements like "Cornell's current, tortured defense ...." and "Fitzpatrick looked rather grim in weakly arguing..." for those things with which you don't agree.
"or at least on the ability to obtain subsequent observations by other independent observers."

There have been multiple reports of visual and auditory encounters from the Pearl in the last 7 years by independent observers. Why should that not qualify as satisfactory proof?

Well, I guess I should have included some sort of time limit for follow-up obersvations. Whether it's "right" or not, the things I'm not comfortable with are the lack of sightings soon after an initial report by other observers, the lack of subsequent sightings by the Zeiss search team (or any other "professional" searchers; and I know that the Zeiss team looked for only 30 days, but whether that was long enough or not, they didn't produce any evidence during that 30 days), and the lack of unquestionable video, photos, or audio recordings (and my intention is not to create a new discussion on what "unquestionable" means).
Other than the Zeiss team, what "professional" searchers were there and how much searching was done? Why discount reports from employees at Stennis and others? Why rely on an arbitrary time frame?

My point is that the Pearl has been a hotbed of reports steadily for the last seven years, if not in every year, in at least three out of the last seven and possibly more. To suggest that simply because the reports are not from "professionals," they must be wrong strikes me as wrongheaded, and can only be based on the logically untenable position that the claim that the ivory-bill survives is extraordinary.

I don't know if you're a skeptic or not, but I think your clarification is tantamount to moving the goalposts.
"If the Ivory-bill goes extinct it WON'T now be because of the hunters and loggers of yesteryear, but literally because of the skeptics who so delayed any serious consideration of the species from happening."

While I respect your passion I question your logic. Could you provide some information that indicates conservation efforts for IBWO have been slowed by people who have not seen images or heard audio that convinces them that IBWO are not extinct?

The real threat to conservation is not skeptiscm about the 2005 "sightings" but a lack of any subsequent "sightings" given what the rollout of last year's announcement meant to conservation efforts in North America.

One example (out of the many) is in an article in Avian Conservation and Ecology:
"The emotion and exposure associated with the Ivory-billed Woodpecker's plight guarantees that it will impact conservation in the United States, and perhaps elsewhere, far more than any other single species in the foreseeable future."

Cornell and TNC sought that "exposure" and ignored the broader implications of the "rediscovery" if their evidence was not rock solid after being portrayed as if it was.

The possibility that the IBWO might not be extinct may be a reason to have hope, but it is important to keep in mind that it is hope that one species thought to be extinct somehow managed to survive the desecration of North America. In the bigger picture (2005 warmest year on record, Greenland ice sheets melting faster than predicted, arctic summer pack ice predicted to be gone in this century) things are not going well for our environment. Many ecosystems (and not just single species) are in danger. Future generations will likely look at what humans did to the world in the 21st century and wonder what all the fuss was about one woodpecker species in the first decade of the century.
I have flushed ivorybills from the edge of the water. Perhaps they are feeding on crayfish, and the banks of the ditch are as favorable for this type of foraging as the banks of the Pearl and its bayous. I visit that ditch a few times a week hoping the ivorybills will return.

This entry about Ivory-billed Woodpeckers eating crayfish left me shaking my head. This entry really tells me how inexperience Mr. Collins is as a birder. Sure he's out there trying and thats good. Yes he's probably a nice guy, above average looks, good education, well respected in his field at NASA, loves the Pearl River and wants to conserve it and ect.. but I am sorry but Mike Collins is not seeing Ivory-billed Woodpeckers on NASA property. If he is seeing Ivory-billed Woodpeckers on NASA property he is sure doing a great job of shredding any evidence that they exist.

I read all the 12 comments in this blog and I am wondering what the hell you guys are babbling about?

Skeptics will be the reason if the Ivory-billed Woodpecker is extinct. What in the hell is that?

What is so wrong in questioning an Ivory-billed Woodpecker observation? Most of you birders think its ok for your state records committee to validate your rare bird sighting you submitted. They are skeptics as well. They either voted your sighting down or they accepted it based on your documentation and other data you gave them to vote on.

Skeptics are all over the birding community! How many of you have ever question someone elses bird sighting? How many of you have gossip behind another birder's back about that birders ablilty or his/her credibility? I think its safe that all of you have one time or another put on the skeptic hat on and acted like a skeptic.

I could pretty much speak for all birders and say "we all would like to see some solid hardcore evidence that Ivory-billeds are still with us". I hope one day a clear photo is taken of a IBWO or a video so this debate goes away. Well of course then there will be the "I told you so" comments raging thru the internet sites. LOL

Before I go -- I just got an email from another birder who sent me a photo of a possible IBWO today. The photo is interesting to say the least. I have been off and on been getting photos from a few sources who say there is a IBWO in these photos. Hopefully soon "the photo of all photos" will be released or taken some day.

To suggest that simply because the reports are not from "professionals," they must be wrong strikes me as wrongheaded, and can only be based on the logically untenable position that the claim that the ivory-bill survives is extraordinary.

Forgive me if I sounded like I'm saying that the reports must be wrong if they're not coming from professionals. That was not my point. But, even though I believe the Ivory-billed is likely not extinct and probably present at the Pearl River, the pattern sight reports coupled with the lack of an "indisputable" video or photograph makes it difficult for me to jump on the bandwagon.

As an example, I would be much more accepting of the latest sight reports at the Pearl if someone else was there and said something like, "Mike told me he saw an Ivory-billed at point X. I went back to point X two days later and also saw an Ivory-billed."
There is a saying Stephen King wrote in the novel "Christine" that could apply to the majority of the evidence so far amassed re: the IBWO...

"you can't polish a turd!"

Someone will eventually get that "money shot".

So far it's mostly "chump change".
anonymous wrote:

"...While I respect your passion I question your logic. Could you provide some information that indicates conservation efforts for IBWO have been slowed by people who have
The real threat to conservation is not skeptiscm about the 2005 "sightings" but a lack of any subsequent "sightings" given what the rollout of last year's announcement meant to conservation efforts in North America."

I AM NOT referring to skepticism in 2005 which is nothing more than a product of previous decades; I am referring to the total failure to do the present day kinds of searches in the 50s, 60s or 70s when the species could've likely been easily saved (whether it can be saved now, I have doubts) -- the denigration of Lowery, Dennis and lesser figures was a miserable failure on the part of ornithological pseudoscience and at a time when "conservation" was barely even an issue... but could've been. Skepticism didn't suddenly begin in 2005; it's been a negative for this bird for 50 years; the present day skeptics are hardly more than pawns in the process.
Mike's soap box is the guy who was comparing the Cache River with Area 51.

'nuff said.
"If the Ivory-bill goes extinct it WON'T now be because of the hunters and loggers of yesteryear, but literally because of the skeptics who so delayed any serious consideration of the species from happening. It is a simple case where the potential damage done by undue skepticism far exceeds the potential damage done by undue optimism."

It appears that you are faulting people (skeptics?) for failing to take some action in the past even though they were not provided with evidence that would have warranted the action. Why not fault the people in past decades that were "believers” for failing to obtain the evidence that you believe was there all along. It is far easier for someone to express optimism than provide evidence.

Serious researchers who took the time to make the connection with DDT use and bird declines were able to do a great deal for avian conservation as were those who documented the importance of old growth forests to spotted owls and marbled murrelets. There were "skeptics" on the other side in all of those arguments but the evidence ultimately resulted in policies that helped save populations and habitats. If the IBWO still exists I am sorry that believers of past decades didn't do more for them. But this does not mean that current researchers should feel they are providing a service when they provide more optimism than they do evidence or that current “skeptics” bear any burden for wanting a rational vs. emotional reason to believe the species still exists.
Anonymous said...
Mike's soap box is the guy who was comparing the Cache River with Area 51.

'nuff said

Yes I did say that in my blog about 2 months ago because of these contracts the Cornell volunteers had to sign as a way to keep them hush up about informing the public what they are seeing or hearing in this area, need special permits to go into this area, and ect..

I heard from birders who been in this area who seen the security personnel in this area in the Cache River, I was inform about cameras that were looking for trespassers and I was also told about a ex-Cornell worker who had recordings of Ivory-billeds in this area and left the recordings at a hunting lodge. Supposedly the ex-worker went in there without a permit and recorded several Ivory-billeds. When he was caught and charged for his act he skipped bail but left the recordings at a hunting lodge. All this information came from a tour leader who was inform of all this from the lodge owner. I also know this tour operator and believed what he was telling me was the truth but if it wasn't I thought it was a kool story.

So I composed a funny blog about comparing all these events in the Cache River to Area 51 because it seem so ridiculous that this area had security and permits and ect... So I poked fun at it.

Mike (stone cold) --

The tales you tell about what you have heard is going on down on the Cache are far wilder and harder to believe than anything Cornell has reported from there. I've been there. There's no armed guards or anything else you describe. Whoever your sources are they are either deranged or pulling your leg. You also don't seem to be listening closely enough to what Collins has said. The birds he is reporting are not on NASA property they are on public land near NASA property. And how the hell do you know the entire list of what Ivorybills eat, when no one else does? Somehow you have gotten god-like omniscience so you magically know what he has and has not actually been seeing in a place you've probably never even been near. Even Tom Nelson never goes that far. You kep sayng his recordings are blue jays, ave YOU put then in a spectrogram and compared them to real blue jays, or is this that god-like omniscience again?

Spare me the know-it-all yankees
Somehow you have gotten god-like omniscience

Please don't use words us uneducated blue-collar types don't understand. It ain't fair.
Mike Collins is NOT seeing Ivory-billed Woodpeckers in the Pearl River!

Mike Collins is not a well seasoned birder or an experience birder!

Mike Collins website is a joke! He is not seeing IBWOs he is seeing Pileated Woodpeckers! IF Mike C. possibly did see a IBWO in the Pearl River he is doing a great job of destroying his observation by his lack of understanding on how to document a bird like a IBWO.

I saw a poll on a website asking birders to vote on Mike Collins observations in the Pearl River. So far he is losing big time!!

So go ahead keep attacking me and say what you have to say because in the long run Mike Collins will NEVER EVER prove to anyone that he is seeing IBWOs in the Pearl River. Hell even the local listservs are ignoring his claims!

Mike Collins should go back to his backyard and fill his feeders, get a slurpee and watch his sport clips on the tube!! He is just stumbling and bumbling around the Pearl River and making wild claims he is seeing IBWOs!!
Anonymous said...
Somehow you have gotten god-like omniscience

Please don't use words us uneducated blue-collar types don't understand. It ain't fair.

You are so right! I have paper cuts on my fingers from constantly using the dictionary on all these big words I do not understand. Thanks for making me laugh on a snowy day in northern Minnesota. (-:
I take it you haven't looked at Mike's 10 years worth of trip reports from all over the world, including other species of Campephilus woodpeckers.

Sounds like you have a personal problem, just like all the other schoolyard bullies.
Mike you've gotten just like your buddy Tom Nelson. Minnesotans, go home (except birdchick).
From that stone-cold thing:

"So go ahead keep attacking me"

Oh give me a break! US attacking YOU? YOU are the first one who started hurling names and personal attacks, this time and most every time. And now YOU are saying YOU are being attacked?

The post above is right, you are nothing but a bully. And a whiny one at that. Begone.
Here is why I do not believe in Mike Collins observations of IBWO sightings in the Pearl River in 2006.

1. In all the frames I viewed there is not one clear image that shows the triangular white wing patches one would expect to see when the bird's wings are at rest.

2. In all the frames their is not one clear image of the underwing pattern one would expect to see on a IBWO in flight.

3. In all the frames their is not one clear image showing the white wing patches on the upper wings whle the bird is in flight.

4. In all the frames their is not one clear image showing that the facial striping stops short just below the eye.

5. In all the frames their is not on clear image showing the color the bill or the bill size.

Since I cannot see these field marks and the video doesn't reveal these field marks than my conclusion is that the bird in the video is NOT a Ivory-billed woodpecker.

Ok lets get back to his observation of IBWOs that are hanging around ditches feeding on crayfish.

This is from the Cornell website.


Figure 3. Cerambycid beetle (genus and species not known) larvae removed from tree scaled by Ivory-billed Woodpeckers at Ojito de Agua, northeastern Cuba. These oversized beetle larvae are a prime food source for the Ivory-billed Woodpeckers. Published in The Living Bird Quarterly, Winter, 1991. (Photographs by Jerome A. Jackson)

In the Carolinas, Wilson (1811) found numerous 2- to 3-in (5-8 cm) beetle larvae that he described as a dirty cream color with a black head. This is con-sistent with many species of cerambycid beetle larvae. Gosse (1859) also reported a large “Cerambyx” as well as the seeds of cherry (Prunus sp.) in the stomach of one Alabama bird; a second had only cherries in its stomach.

F. E. L. Beal (1911) examined the contents of 2 stomachs from Ivory-billed Woodpeckers, although he did not give a locality for the specimens. One contained 32 and the other 20 cerambycid beetle larvae, and these constituted 38% of the food in the stomachs. Also included were engraver beetles (Scolytidae), including at least 3 species (Ips avulsus, I. calligraphus, and I. grandicollis) in 1 stomach. All 3 of these engraver beetles are species that feed on pines (Baker 1972). Total animal food made up 39% of the contents and vegetable matter the other 62%. One stomach contained the fruit of the southern magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora), also known today as bull bay and reported by Beal as Magnolia foetida. The other stomach included pecan (Carya sp.) nuts.

Cottam and Knappen (1939) examined the contents of 3 Ivory-billed Woodpecker stomachs, apparently the first 2 of which were the ones examined by Beal. They reported that the first 2 stomachs came from birds collected by Vernon Bailey on 26 Nov 1904 at Tarkington, TX. The third stomach came from a bird collected at Bowling Green, W. Carroll Parish, LA, on 19 Aug 1903, by E. L. Mosely. The first 2 stomachs were filled (see Oberholser and Kincaid 1974: 527–530); they received only the stomach contents of the third bird. The combined sample included 46% animal food and 54% plant material. Most of the animal material (45% of the total sample, USFWS files fide Tanner 1942a) was composed of cerambycid beetles. Two species of cerambycids were identified as Parandra polita and Stenodontus dasystomus. P. polita is a long-horned beetle that has been described as “rather rare” in the s. U.S., but common in Mexico and Central America (Doane et al. 1936), thus potentially providing a specific dietary link between Ivory-billed and Imperial woodpeckers. These beetles feed on the heartwood of old and weakened hardwoods. Stenodontus dasystomus, known as the “hardwood-stump borer,” is found only in the e. U.S., and its larvae also consume the heartwood of living trees (Headstrom 1977). Tanner (1942a) iden-tified the larvae of Stenodontus dasystomus as prey brought in the bill of adults to nestlings in the Singer Tract.

Cottam and Knappen (1939) broke down the plant component of the diet as including 14% southern magnolia seeds, 27% hickory and pecan (Carya illinoiensis) nuts, and 13% poison ivy seeds (Rhus radicans). They also noted a trace of gravel and fragments of an unidentified gall in the third stomach. E. A. McIlhenny (in Bendire 1895) suggests Ivory-billeds ate acorns.

Although the favored food of Ivory-billeds appears to have been the large larvae of some long-horned beetles (Cerambycidae; probably because of their size and hence volume of nutrients per larva), they have also been reported attracted to trees killed during what sounds like southern pine beetle (Dendroctonus frontalis; Scolytidae) outbreaks. Reports of Ivory-billeds foraging on downed wood suggests the probability that they also readily took the large larvae of other beetles, such as the horned passalus (Popilius disjunctus; Passalidae).

Audubon (1842) and others described considerable use of fruit and berries in season, noting that grapes (Vitis sp.), persimmons (Diospyros virginiana), and hackberries were eaten, ripe grapes with “great avidity.”

In Cuba, diet probably similar to that in the U.S. Lamb (1957: 10) observed an Ivory-billed Wood-pecker foraging at a branch that he later found to be full of larvae and adults of a small beetle (Melasidae; Hypocoelus). Lamb also collected large larvae of Buprestidae from pines, and I collected very large larvae of Cerambycidae from dead pines that showed sign of Ivory-billed scaling ( Fig. 3). Gundlach (fide F. García pers. comm.) noted Ivory-billeds feeding on arboreal termites (Isoptera). García (1987) mentions them eating seeds.

There is no mentioning of IBWO stomachs that contained crayfish!

What about the sound recording that Mike Collins made? We all agree it was a high pitch wispy sort of call note. Well here is what Cornell has to say about the sounds IBWO make.

Vocal array

Calls. Many people have described the calls of Ivory-billed Woodpeckers, but descriptions are often second-hand. Discussion here will focus on descriptions from observers we know truly saw and heard the birds and on recordings made by Arthur Allen and Peter Paul Kellogg in Feb 1935 (Allen 1937, 1939; Allen and Kellogg 1937).

The most distinctive notes of the Ivory-billed were its simple, “tin-trumpet” “kent” call notes ( Fig. 4), given singly or in pairs and often repeated. An attempt to phonetically spell or otherwise verbally describe this or any bird call is fraught with problems: We all hear things a bit differently, and the same call can also sound different depending on weather conditions, distance, nature of vegetation between the bird and the hearer, and many other factors. Nonetheless, most of us find mnemonics that work.

Among the mnemonics and other descriptions for the characteristic call notes of this species are the following:

Audubon (1842: 216): pait, pait, pait.

Brewster (1881: 42): a “comparatively feeble haec.”

Frank M. Chapman (1932), who collected Ivory-billeds in Florida: a high, rather nasal yap, yap, yap.

Allen and Kellogg (1937): kent, which can be imitated by blowing on the mouthpiece of a clarinet. The mnemonic used for the call note had originally been “kint,” and in each case Allen had changed it to “kent” [Cornell Univ. archives, A.A. Allen Box 123].

Phelps (1914), who saw this species in s. Florida, noted that its call “lacks the carrying power” of that of the Pileated Woodpecker. Phelps also noted that unlike the call notes of the Pileated, there is a char-acteristic pause between the notes of the Ivory-billed.

Pearson (1937) commented that Ivory-billeds gave their nasal kent calls almost continually while feeding.

The call notes heard on the Allen recordings are simple notes that do sound like a child’s horn or, perhaps more recognizable today, somewhat like a New Year’s Eve party horn—they can be imitated by blowing on a clarinet mouthpiece.

Audubon provides us with considerable description of Ivory-billed calls, but attention needs to be placed first on the context, carrying capacity, and diversity of calls rather than on the mnemonic descriptions. Audubon (1842: 216) commented that the Ivory-billed “never utters any sound whilst on wing, unless during the love-season; but at all other times, no sooner has this bird alighted than its remarkable voice is heard, at almost every leap which it makes” while climbing.

The sound recordings made by Allen and his colleagues in the Singer Tract (Allen 1937, Allen and Kellogg 1937) were of a single pair of birds at the nest and thus give us vocalizations from a limited context with no indication of possible individual, seasonal, or geographic variation. In addition, recordings can distort calls and songs, but careful attention to these reveals the sounds that we know of other birds—and they do not sound distorted. Here again, the calls of the Ivory-bill sound like a small tin horn and can be imitated by blowing on a clarinet mouthpiece. Tanner (1942a) observed birds from the same population over an extended period and noted that, when disturbed, the pitch of the kent rose and the call was repeated more rapidly, often as a double note. While Allen and Kellogg did not describe the context, this variation can be heard on their recordings. Tanner (1942a) also noted that when ≥2 birds were together, they sometimes gave a chorus of prolonged, up-ward-slurred kient notes, particularly just before taking flight. Tanner also noted softer yent notes associated with close communication between pair members. Allen and Kellogg (1937) described the note of the female as weaker and less harsh than that of the male, but Tanner could not discern such a difference.

The distance at which an Ivory-bill call might be heard would certainly vary with the nature of the call, the habitat, and the wind; Tanner (1942a) sug-gested that under the best of conditions — on a calm day after leaves had fallen — it might be about 0.4 km.

There is not one desciption of any high pitch wispy notes that comes from IBWOs.

So in closing Mike Collins has not seen a Ivory-billed Woodpecker or recorded one and that is my opinion based on what Mike Collins has provided on his website.

I do not like it when people like Mike Collins who says this I have nearly 70 papers published in refereed scientific journals and I'm the best in the world in my area. I wonder how many others who have claimed to have seen ivorybills can top that. I was educated at MIT, which is the best university in the world. The type of person who can get into MIT and thrive there is also the type of person with enough drive and determination to find ivorybills.

That to me is like saying " you better believe in what I am telling you because I am a MIT graduate and I am the best in the WORLD in my field field" That statement is filled with arrogance. Some of the best birders in the world do not have college degrees Mike Collins!

Then Mike Collins says this:
I don't think the video evidence is weak. It's actually stronger than the Luneau video. What does the Luneau video show? Wingbeat rate, size, and white in some of the right places. My video shows these elements as well as posture and wing shape. It also shows the white trailing edge going all the way to the base of the wing as it should.

Are ya sure Mike? Your video is basically black and white. Can anyone see the white trailing wing patches in his video? At least in the Luneau video you can see the white trailing wing patches on the upper wing. You cannot see a damn thing other than a black bird hoping from tree to tree. The Luneau video in my opinion is showing a IBWO fleeing away from David Luneau.

I stated my reasons why I do not believe that Mike Collins has a video of a IBWO. I have issues with him and his theory that IBWO feed on crayfish.

You guys can support him all you want but until Mike Collins provides the birding community with a "pretty picture" I will not believe anything on his website other than his rubic games, sport clips and the NFL rankings.
crayfish: a theory. he neve said he saw woodpeckers eating crayfish. He said he has seen them low near the water and wondered what was drawing them there.

white trailign edge: when lightened up actually two consecutive frames shor what looks like a light trailing edge on the upper wing. The lighting is lousy though.

black and white: it is actually a color video, and if you crank up the color saturation you see lots of color on the branches and leaves. But the blurry perched birds crest always remains black. It's lower back is always obscured by aother branch in closeups.

A pileated is not solid black either. The bird in the video doesn't show white in the places a pileated would, either. The red crest is never visible. The white underwing is never visible. The white at the base of the flight feathers in the upper wing is never visible. The extensive white on the face of a pileated is never visible. Basically no pileated field marks are visible, so why do you conclude it is a pileated?

Calls: there are very few recordings of ivorybill calls. Mike's call does not match them. But you earlier proclaimed that the call WAS a blue jay. There are gazillions of blue jay calls recorded. Mike's recording doesn't match them either. And he said he heard that same call a few days earler mixed in with regular "kents" when he heard two birds calling to each other.

So, there's even less on that video or audio that suggests a pileated than there is to suggest an ivorybill. But somehow you are SURE that mike has only been misidentifying pileateds.

And anti-elitism is just another form of elitism.

Birding experience: Mike Collins HAS seen other woodpeckers in the same genus as the ivorybill (4 different species, in fact). Have you?

I don't take ANYONE'S word without some reason to back it up.
crayfish: a theory. he neve said he saw woodpeckers eating crayfish. He said he has seen them low near the water and wondered what was drawing them there

So he's seeing more than one feeding in the ditches? How do you know for sure they are even Ivory-billeds? Oh that's right I have to take his word for it because he's world known and has a MIT degree. Forgot about that, my bag.

There are gazillions of Blue Jay calls recorded. Mike's recording doesn't match them either

Why are these recording only being compared to Blue Jays? I am sure these calls may match up with other resident birds or migrant birds in the Pearl River. Then again these calls may not be a bird call either.

I blew up the frames and played around with them and there is nothing to me that rules out Pileated. If you are seeing a black crest then so be it. I know in cloudy low light conditions reds can look black. I seen distant red-throated loons when the the throat faces the light the red is seen from far away but as soon as the loon turns away from the sun the throat is black.

So of course the crest looks black because the lightening is so bad. We should be see the prominent triangular white wing patches at rest on these frames but we do not and we also do not see the bright white wing patches on the secondaries when the bird is in flight. So again I am sorry I cannot agree with you Bill.

Birding experience: Mike Collins HAS seen other woodpeckers in the same genus as the ivorybill (4 different species, in fact). Have you?

No I have not Bill. I did see this entry on his website though.

When I first started bird watching in 1996, I read numerous accounts of the rarity of Mourning and Connecticut Warblers. After finding a hotspot for these species in 1998, I realized that they aren't really that rare. Since these skulking species can be hard to locate and see, however, I still enjoy the challenge of looking for them

Wow 10 years of birding in the field and he already knows all the songs of North American birds. Yes he knows all the bird calls in North America in 10 years! Here's his entry to prove it. I found this on his Texas trip journal on his website.

I visited Stennis Space Center, which is located in Mississippi just across the Pearl River from David Kulivan's 1999 ivory-bill report. Early that morning, I heard calls that seemed to be consistent with the written description of ivory-bill calls. I was not able to move directly toward these calls because of an intervening ditch. At the time, I was not aware of the Cornell recordings that were obtained in 1935. I know all of the bird calls of North America and was certain it was not a bird (other than possibly an ivory-bill).

I know a lot of elite birders who have been traveling and birding a lot longer than 10 years and they still do not know all the bird calls in North America.!!

Mike Collins only been bird watching for 10 years and some how you are telling me he is a top notch birder and knows ALL the bird calls in North America. Mike Collins also informed his readers that Blue Jays have songs and in all the guide books and some searching on the internet there is no mentioning of Blue Jays or corvids having songs but instead a series of call notes.
Did you listen to his blue jay "song" recording? It is a vocalization I have heard, and it is called the "whisper song" by some. Try googling on "blue jay" and "whisper song." It is called this by the Birds of North America Online. And actually what he described for the migrant Oporonis is a common experience in the southeast. Rank-and-file birders never find them, but those who bother to learn their songs, season, and habits find them nearly every spring. And vegetation in light just as bad as that bird's crest look green when you crank up the color saturation, but the crest stays black.

If you wanna talk about the video, fine talk about the video. If you wanna disagree, fine. But you are engaging in a character assassination.
Mr. Pulliam. You seem to have alot to say about character assasination. You seem to be very adept at it yourself. You enjoyed publicly assasinating my character without ever taking the time to enter in any intelligent dialogue with me, you did it in an arena that I am forbidden from participating in, and yet you go on about character assasinating,,let me refresh you with some of your own quotes. "This is the yahoo profile associated with the e-mail address he gave on his web pages:It has a photo of him. Shame, I originally thought he might have really had something" unquote. My physical appearance has nothing to do with my integrity yet you would insult my own mother by making such a comparison,,,let me refresh you more,,,"Bill "Smith"'s picture is a pretty glaring fake" unquote. My photo is genuine,,but the fact that you used "quotation" marks around my last name to insinuate that I would lie about my own name is insulting,,again an attack on my character. You seem quite happy to dismiss people and slander them when it suits you but if someone questions your beliefs it changes your whole moral make up. Mike did see and photograph ivory bills and when people respond to critical analysis the way you do it does nothing for the dialogue. My advice to you is to get some manners and be consistent with your dung throwing. You are a bore and have no manners. Bill Smith
Hey Bill Smith:

I like Bill Pulliam and even though we disagree on the Collins video I still communicate with him privately and find him to be a good guy.

If you are going to stick a fake female Ivory-billed Woodpecker in a tree, try looking for a cyprus tree vs. an orange tree. Hell you should of stuck it in a Christmas Tree with lights around it.

I am waiting to see your next photo!

Good birding Mr. Smith
And to the owner of this blog, which I have enjoyed reading for a very long time, my profession as a children's entertainer has no bearing on my integrity as you may have tried to suggest. In fact maybe it does, I have donated countless hours to entertaining sick children, unfortunate children, and making them forget their problems for an hour or so,,I have spent time in hospital wards seeing the realities that would make the woodpecker's plight pale,,but I certainly hope this does not mean I am a liar and a hoaxer as has been suggested, once again on a forum that I have been banned from for merely deviating from topic. Thank you, Bill Smith
And to Mr. soap box, I have never mistaken an oak, Quercus, for an orange tree, I would brush up on your outdoorsy things before being so arrogant. The bird is real and I have responded appropriately with details to anyone who has taken the time to contact me with intelligent dialogue...and I haven't used my site to slam any individual without taking the time to contact them first and trying to get facts. You simply have no credibility sir, and your words carry weight with no one. Bill Smith
Actually the reason I used "quotes" around your name was because I found that same yahoo address linked to a different name in a different forum. The "mad" part of the nickname I gave you is taken directly from your own web page ("billismad"), as is the "guppy" part (helped along by BINAC on that one).

The two statements you took to be a comment on your appearance were actually unrelated. The second comment was a summary about the whole episode, given the general impressions of the bird photograph you posted. It just conicidentally followed my noting that you had a yahoo profile with a photo (on the chance that someone would recognize you and be able to speak of you from personal knowledge). I don't believe anyone was aware that you were no longer allowed to participate on birdforum. The moderators do not publically announce who has been banned or why.

I did attempt an e-mail dialogue with you. Your responses were very dismissive, defensive, and accusatory, and all I had written was to ask if you had a higher resolution copy of the image you posted. Several other people have reported the exact same experience trying to correspond with you; in fact Birdchick quoted almost the same responses from you word-for-word.

Virtually everyone who has expressed a public opinion about the picture you posted has expressed the same opinion (that it does not appear genuine), and you have been absolutely uncooperative or unresponsive with even the most simple and direct queries about that image. Indeed, as far as I know, ths is the first time you have resurfaced since then. Hence the general consensus.
Mr. Pulliam. I have no idea why I am even responding to your response. I have been extremely cooperative to anyone who has contacted me, once again with intelligent dialogue. I don't know how you assume my correspondence is the same verbatim with you and someone called "birdchick" I have all of my e-mails saved and she contacted me with no introduction, just a demand for her own large copy of my picture. No explanation or introduction. She wasn't worthy of a response but I responded politely and she subsequently posted my response out of context on her site. E-mails like any personal correspondence to me, were always considered personal and she broke that rule. You did the same for all intent and purposes,,I have saved your emails, I'll be happy to share them,,,no introduction from you,,just a demand for better pictures and location details. you may talk in circles, try to "talk" your way out of things,,but you did,,as I quoted, publicly demean me, with no chance of me being able to respond, you made a reference to my face, and implied as is in your quote that this has something to do with my credibility,,,,,let me quote you again in full context,,,QUOTE"This is the yahoo profile associated with the e-mail address he gave on his web pages:It has a photo of him. Shame, I originally thought he might have really had something" That seems pretty cut and dry,,,keep talking your way out of it,,,you are a rude person. I would never publicly comment on someone's looks. I am still banned from that site as many intelligent people are. Once again, I respond to intelligent e-mails, all of them, I have freely shared information with those who have inquired,,you merely demanded info with no introduction, I had or still have no idea who you even are. I have recieved the same treatment from many, and I cannot imagine sending flammatory e-mails to anyone without first finding out who I am talking to and at least introducing myself,,which you hadn't the decency to do.

Regarding my pic. It is a live bird, it is not in an orange tree, and this silliness of not being able to distinguish foliage doesn't lend any credibility to analysis, and there really needn't be any analysis for those of us who have seen and photographed the bird. I have solicited no one's approval, I only respond to e-mails, I have contacted no one about my searches, only shared information with those interested and intelligent enough to communicate with a two way dialogue. Bill Smith
As I said before that was not a comment on your looks, it was a comment on the bird picture you posted.

But since you seem to be hell-bent on being persecuted, and somehow find an attack in a message as simple as "that is an interesting photo; do you have a higher resolution version of it?" go ahead, feel persecuted.
Bill Smith I also emailed you many weeks ago about your photo as well. I was very nice to you and I remember I was on your side. I guess I felt sorry for you because I knew you were going to be slammed in all the forums and blogs about your photo. I emailed you to warn you about this and I asked you some questions about your photo in a polite manner. By the way I know BirdChick pretty good and she is a wonderful woman, very nice and well respected in Minnesota.

You did not respond to my email and that is fine with me. Yes doing magic tricks for sick children is a wonderful thing to do. I should know a thing or two about sick children because my nephew who was only 16yrs old died of cancer two years ago. I been to Fairview Hospital in St. Paul and I seen several small children coping with cancer on the same hospital floor where my nephew was, so I know full well what you are saying. So I admire that you go out of your way to put smiles on children's faces.

BUT-- Bill Smith you are a not being honest about your photo. I will speak honest and stright to you and tell you why the photo is a hoax.

In the photo the bird is clearly in a orange tree. How do I know that? Because there are oranges in the photo dangling from the branches. I counted at least 3 oranges in the tree. I used Photo Shop 7.0 and use the zoom tool to identify the oranges. A small orange tree in a orange grove or in your backyard is way out of place for a IBWO.

Bill Smith look at your photo carefully and follow along with me on this. Go to the bird in the photo and do you see that white stripe that starts below the eye on the bird? Ok put your pencil on it and move your pencil along the stripe to the rear of the bird. Did you notice when you got to the end of the stripe the pencil is above the bird's body? Meaning the stripe ends above the body like a tuft feather sticking above the main part of the bird. This stripe whould NOT pop up like this and it should trail off on the back of the bird. Maybe the glue you used to add the stripe did not hold properly and the wind blew part of the stripe up?

Bill, the best thing to do is admit you crafted this bird and stuck it in a orange tree. Bill it's time to fess up and admit you did all this because you felt jaded by the experts, birders and others about your Ivory-billed Woodpecker search. ( hence Billismad email name) I think you should still search for the bird in Florida but produce honest evidence such as photos or a video. Birders are very clever people and they know the difference between a decoy and the real deal.

Bill Keep up the good work you are doing with sick children.
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