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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






Tuesday, May 22, 2007

 

-- Bird Life? --

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Excuse my pessimism, but... :

BirdLife Int'l. now views 20+% of bird species worldwide as at "increased risk of extinction" --- What a bunch of starry-eyed optimists!! Such pronouncements often myopically gaze only a few human generations ahead. With the constantly accelerating rate of human-induced ecological changes
, well over half of all bird species could easily be threatened just a few centuries into the future. Within 300 years, I'd wildly guess that the primary land-based bird groups in the United States might be Corvids, Psitticines(!), and Columbidae, and not much else (the outlook for water and oceanic birds may be even more dire). Conservation efforts are wonderful and to be applauded of course, but likely doomed in the loooong run, against relentless human forces; simply postponing the inevitable.
So why try to save Ivory-bills (or Whoopers or Condors or Kirtland Warblers or Red-cockadeds or... ) ? --- not so they'll be here 500 years from now (fat chance of that), but more simply because it is a right thing to do, and (a tad more self-servingly), no one wishes to say 'hey, they vanished on OUR watch'.
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From the Web Grab Bag a more uplifting, or at least interesting, story courtesy of 'Birdchick':

http://www.birdchick.com/2007/05/osprey-nest-surprise.html

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Comments:
Cyberthrush, on Skeptics: They wholly underestimate the tenaciousness and adaptability of living things in general, and this species in particular.

Cyberthrush, May 22: Within 300 years, I'd wildly guess that the primary land-based bird groups in the United States might be Corvids, Psitticines(!), and Columbidae, and not much else.
 
environmental changes of the next 300 yrs. will dwarf the changes (minor by comparison) of the last 300 yrs., let alone the last 60; thermonuclear exchanges alone may see to that; and all agree that rates of extinction are rapidly accelerating, even if individual species hang on by a thread for lengthy periods. Maybe Dr. Nils Hellstrom had it right all along...
 
Uncharacteristically pessimistic today, ct. If things are really as dire as you suggest, why should we continue to throw good money after bad chasing after a bird that is now little more than a phantom? How can you hope to conserve a bird that you can't even find, and for what purpose? Simply saying "it is a right thing to do" doesn't cut it. How does it serve society?
 
well not really "uncharacteristically," John; I'm a 'grumpy old man' when it comes to the long term future for nonhuman life on the planet, the only question really is the timetable (300 yrs. or 3000??).

Yes, humans do many things just because they are the 'right' thing to do; it's called "altruism" and is a subject of wide study (although some have argued that even altruism is based on selfishness).
Anyway, think of it this way: you get sick or injured -- should people say, "well, let's not bother treating John because afterall eventually he's just going to die anyway." Of course not. "Extinction" is just death of a species, but its eventuality is not an excuse to just give up on a species, nor individual members.
And hey, I may be entirely wrong, and with the proper efforts IBWOs will be here 300 yrs. from now...
 
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