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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

Thursday, September 21, 2006


-- Annie Dillard/ Mike Collins --

From the ridiculous yesterday ("Ivory Bill Jones") to the sublime today --- a passage, just for the heck of it, by Annie Dillard from Pilgrim At Tinker Creek,
Chapter 2, entitled "Seeing" ) :
"Unfortunately, nature is very much a now-you-see-it, now-you-don't affair. A fish flashes, then dissolves in the water before your eyes like so much salt. Deer apparently ascend bodily into heaven; the brightest oriole fades into leaves. These disappearances stun me into stillness and concentration; they say of nature that it conceals with a grand nonchalance, and they say of vision that it is a deliberate gift, the revelation of a dancer who for my eyes only flings away her seven veils. For nature does reveal as well as conceal: now-you-don't-see-it, now-you-do. For a week last September migrating red-winged blackbirds were feeding heavily down by the creek at the back of the house. One day I went out to investigate the racket; I walked up to a tree, an Osage orange, and a hundred birds flew away. They simply materialized out of the tree. I saw a tree, then a whisk of color, then a tree again. I walked closer and another hundred blackbirds took flight. Not a branch, not a twig budged: the birds were apparently weightless as well as invisible. Or it was as if the leaves of the Osage orange had been freed from a spell in the form of red-winged blackbirds; they flew from the tree, caught my eye in the sky, and vanished. When I looked again at the tree the leaves had reassembled as if nothing had happened. Finally, I walked directly to the trunk of the tree and a final hundred, the real diehards, appeared, spread, and vanished. How could so many hide in the tree without my seeing them? The Osage orange, unruffled, looked just as it had looked from the house, when three hundred red-winged blackbirds cried from its crown.
"....Peeping through my keyhole I see within the range of only about thirty percent of the light that comes from the sun; the rest is infrared and some little ultraviolet, perfectly apparent to many animals, but invisible to me. A nightmare network of ganglia, charged and firing without my knowledge, cuts and splices what I do see, editing it for my brain. Donald E. Carr points out that the sense impressions of one-celled animals are not edited for the brain: 'This is philosophically interesting in a rather mournful way, since it means that only the simplest animals perceive the universe as it is.' "
===> AND, on a separate note, Mike Collins arrived back in the Stennis/Pearl River area (La.) yesterday for a new winter search season and reported back to BirdForum a tad cryptically as follows:
"This morning, I saw some very, very exciting data. As I mentioned several months ago, studying the ivorybill is going to be like studying a new species. Some of the data that I saw this morning is unlike anything I have ever seen in the field or in the literature. It's downright fascinating."
I assume, but don't know for certain, that this has to do with data to be presented soon at AOU, for which there may be a news release or publication in the week prior to the Veracruz meeting (unsure). Given how few Ivory-bills have been studied in the past, and how long ago the last ones were recorded one might well expect MUCH new (even surprising) information/data to arise. As previously stated here, two of the bigger problems in IBWO discussions are simply 1) how much we don't know with certainty, and 2) how much we think we do know, that is wrong or incomplete. James Tanner's study, as good as it was, simply handed us for decades afterwards an illusion of knowledge that never was that solid
. Good luck in the season ahead Mike.

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