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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, August 20, 2006


-- Golden Oldie --

Once again I'll just return to a golden oldie post from about a year ago which was focussed on the Arkansas find, but the gist of which still holds true for all future finds:
"There are many reasons to believe in the Ivory-bill's existence, but I've said for several years, that if I had to pick out just one reason it would be the VERY SAME one most birders use to argue for the bird's demise: HABITAT! Most folks claim there is no suitable habitat remaining for this species. To the contrary, the number of remote, little-accessed, dense Southern forest patches available that could sustain 1-2 pairs of IBWOs (not to mention non-breeding juveniles) has long been SIGNIFICANT and growing. In the current Smithsonian magazine (Aug. 2005), top-notch birder Scott Weidensaul says this:

"And there is another, far more potent reason for hope. I've birded all over the country, but the Big Woods area was a revelation to me -- a vast, beautiful chunk of wild land." (italics added).

If this area was a "revelation" to someone as knowledgeable and experienced as Scott, than how much other habitat has been ignored by the country's birders? Jerry Jackson argued for years that revised forestry practices have allowed possible adequate IBWO habitat to INCREASE substantially over the decades, NOT decrease, as people blindly presume.

A lot of headlines in ensuing months will go understandably to the Cornell guys (and gals), but truly MUCH recognition ought to also be directed to David Luneau, Bob Russell, Mary Scott, and others unsung who, in the presence of deaf ears, have been telling us for years that the habitat IS OUT THERE, and who specifically honed-in on the Arkansas region. THANKS guys, for leading the way when others, with their words... or their silence, failed to do so...."
Actually, there will be yet some others, not commonly associated with Ivory-bills, soon getting headlines, but the basic above points still hold. As has been written before, in terms of habitat, both historically and currently, Florida most likely holds the most Ivory-bills, followed by Louisiana and Mississippi. At best, the Arkansas population may only be fourth on the list and it could conceivably be as low as 8th (behind Ga., Al., S.C., and TX.), though I'd be doubtful of that. Still, Scott W.'s insight should be a "revelation" for all.

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