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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.

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"....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, July 02, 2006


-- $10,000 Reward Re-visited --

My initial gut reaction to a monetary reward offered for information leading to the confirmation of the Ivory-bill in Arkansas was one of leery skepticism. Birders/conservationists should not require such an incentive, and other more dubious types may wreak mischief from such motivation. However, on further reflection I feel better now about the 'bounty' approach in this instance. One of the thoughts over decades, has been that the very individuals, hunters, fisherman, swampers, who would be most likely to spot Ivory-bills would never report it due to their fear of the 'Feds' stepping in to tightly regulate the land they hold dear. To the degree that the financial incentive is aimed, not at birders, but at securing the cooperation/aid of 1000's of Southern outdoorsmen bearing such fears, just maybe it will serve a purpose overriding its potential downside.

Ultimately, deep down, we all know that closing any land that harbors these birds is best for them. Closing land off for any species is best for them. But we as people simply do not want to do that. I certainly do not want my access cut off. My converstions with FWC here in Florida reveal that they do not want the land closed off. Their line of thought is that it has taken many years to created a mutual trust situation in the hunting areas that results in very few offences. And add to that that the hunters and fisherman are very protective of their land and if any ne'er do wells enter the woods they police it themselves.

The officers I speak to do not want anyone in the woods doing a "study". It will ruin everything they have worked hard for.

I hope they do not create a "reward" here, the birds are already on protected land and if such time that the land is threatened by a careless administration then they have a tool to come forward with to protect the woods.

My conversations with Jerry Jackson revealed that he wants lands closed that harbor the birds. Even Tanner in his report to the Audobon society demanded that the land be closed to all hunting and such. It will absolutely be done when someone comes forward with the "proof" that everyone wants. I think this pandora's box needs to stay closed and the skeptics need to be the ones who "win" so the birds can win. Bill
I feel that there does need to be a release of a series of photos from every state but that the specific location needs to remain undisclosed except for naming the state in which the photo was taken. I am not for closing down the land use, only protecting it form those who are bent on ruining the habitat. If a reward will lead to such a photo, I'm all for it. I would just like the skeptics to get their 'proof' so that we can all move on.
I absolutely respect the rights of hunters, fishermen, and landowners, many of whom have been the salvation of the ivory-bill. I do not believe that "closing" land per se is necessary in order to have this species increase. However, I know one very avid hunter who I believe has seen this species and knows others who have. When I asked him, "Why is this species struggling so?" his answer was disturbance. Not from birders or orithologists, who after all have been largely absent from prime areas, but from the hunters and fishermen who have been there. The solution, as far as I'm concerned, is to MANAGE hunting and fishing in prime areas, not eliminate them or even necessarily reduce them, armed with knowledge of the bird's habits in specific areas so as to reduce disturbance at critical times and places. We can only do this with specific natural history information about the bird in specific areas. Whether this information is made public is irrelevant in my opinion. Lots of specific information on rare species is shielded from the public all the time. What is important is that somene, the USFWS, state agencies, someone has the information who can use it to move forward on trying to manage the area to give the birds a fair shot at recovery.
Hi David.

Absolutely. That is my point. But is this species in need of a "recovery" plan? From what I have discovered it is doing fine despite humans. Hunting and land use is being done in a responsibly managed way here in Florida and the bird seems to be doing fine.

Maybe the FWC people have the right idea and are using the knowledge they have to hold a trump card in case of a need to save forests.

I have been duly notified that a judge could, if he or she decided, hold a person in contempt if they refused to disclose locations. This is disturbing to me, but havng questioned my family attorney, this is a real possiblility backed up by legal precidence.

I wish I could resolve my personal quandry and figure out what to do with the information I have gathered.

Mike Collins might make it easier, once he publishes his paper he will answer the question once and for all that they at least survive.

This might make it easier for others to come forward with their information. I have never had a doubt that he photographed the birds and I have yet to figure out why his video hasn't been considred definative proof.

I think David Martin has stated this very well. David's view is largely the same as what I feel is appropriate.

sincerely, Steve Sheridan
"I have been duly notified that a judge could, if he or she decided, hold a person in contempt if they refused to disclose locations. This is disturbing to me, but havng questioned my family attorney, this is a real possiblility backed up by legal precidence."

The excerpted statement is simply incorrect. There is no federal, state, or local law that would ever require a private citizen to disclose the location of a bird.

It's just plain silly.
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