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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

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


-- Ambrose Bierce deja vu --

As a public service for the newbies to this whole Ivory-billed Woodpecker debate, I've compiled a brief glossary of some terms one ought be acquainted with:

"Groupthink" --- A process of blind thought which 'Party A' accuses 'Party B' of engaging in, all the while that 'Party A' is wholly immersed in it.

"Field marks" --- Specific plumage characteristics/markings used to differentiate Ivory-bills from all other birds... except for briefly-glanced, over-sized, bi-laterally leucistic Pileateds.

"Luneau video" --- A modern-day ornithological Rorschach test; 4 seconds of cryptic, enigmatic, pixelated mystery.

"A-hole" --- The classification that Cornell gives to those large tree cavities which, upon several criteria, show the most promise of being associated with an Ivory-billed Woodpecker... or, a loose, non-technical term occasionally used in reference to certain participants in the IBWO debate.

"kent... kent" --- the sound that Blue Jays repeatedly make... when they're imitating certain specific woodpeckers of the deep forest.

"BirdForum" --- internet site where some Brits (not all) get to regularly exhibit flimsy knowledge of American swampland, bird identification, and scientific method, and pat themselves on the back while doing it.

"Cornell Lab of Ornithology" --- the renowned professional bastion of knowledge and expertise in North American ornithology... or... not.

"Ivorybilledskeptic blog" --- a non-Shakespearean tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing (...but hey, I mean that in the nicest way).

"field biology" --- the "science" in which limited observations of small, generally non-random sample sizes are routinely used to draw inferences about entire populations.

"extinct" --- the state of being of any lifeform refusing to subject itself to current photographic representation.

"Tyler Hicks" --- one first-rate birder and third-rate photographer.

"the non-commutative law of mistaken identifications" (or, the one-way direction of mistaken identifications) --- out of dozens of brief "Ivory-bill" sightings ALL can be assumed to actually be Pileated Woodpeckers, but out of 1000's of brief sightings of Pileateds none could ever be an Ivory-bill.

"rare" or "endangered species" --- honest, competent, or ethical Republicans

"there's always next season" --- the rallying cry of Chicago Cubs fans and Ivory-bill fans alike.


Sadly, the Bird Forum thread is no longer about the Ivory-billed Woodpecker. It's all about sport debate instead, with nauseating, narcissistic one-upsmanship coming from both sides of the debate. On occasion, there is something that resembles a novel update, but for the most part, one has to wade through a thick mire of muck to find anything meaningful. And it's not just the Brits patting each other on the back.
Lashing out at skeptics by calling them idiots and a-holes will not produce definitive documentation or bring the bird back to life, as the case may be.
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