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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






Friday, March 16, 2007

 

-- Collinson Followup... or, Let's All Move Along --



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By a sheer quirk of timing apparently, David Sibley et.al. have just published another letter in SCIENCE (which M. Collinson says makes his paper "irrelevant") asserting the Luneau video bird to be a Pileated. And (surprise, surprise) there is a rejoinder by Cornell's Fitzpatrick et.al. --- deja vu all over again!!??? (...It is somewhat interesting how much publicity these skeptical pieces attain while the rejoinders don't garner such news coverage; and Cornell is also preparing a rebuttal to Collinson, BTW). Again, all of this wearisome, obsessive focus on a narrow unresolvable argument leaves me reeling a bit from the tediousness of it all, the heat generated in place of light as it were. But hey, it does also send a couple of off-hand thoughts across my mind... :

1) Long ago I recall reading a 'spoof' scientific article using physics and complex math to 'prove' that it was impossible for heavier-than-air man-made objects to fly. And the authors predicted that with the article's publication planes would drop out of the sky with the new realization that what they did was impossible : - ))) Well, that's sorta how I feel about these latest articles --- searchers should start scouring the ground for Ivorybills, because from all the ('Ivory-bill extinct again') headlines I'm reading the birds will surely start plopping out of trees and to the ground any moment now when they realize they are all dead! ; - )

2) And a second thought --- quite awhile back, tongue-in-cheek, I wrote something to the effect, "the Luneau bird is a Muscovy Duck; now can we all please move along..." --- and I didn't receive nearly the press that Collinson is receiving!!! : - (((...BTW, if someone out there has a video of a Muscovy in retreat-mode please send it to Martin for analysis).

'Let's all move along' though really is the only take-home message I see in all of this 2-year-old video debate over a singular bird in a singular set of circumstances that will likely never be duplicated, with a host of uncontrolled variables. IF Ivory-bills are documented in Florida, or S.C., or Texas, or even in Arkansas or ANYwhere else, guess what? --- it will have NO specific bearing on the Luneau video -- THAT bird will remain debatable for eternity, so what is the point, really, with so much data yet to come from the field....

But I know I'm speaking largely to deaf ears.
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