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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

Sunday, May 20, 2007


-- Deja vu, All Over Again ? --

Down memory lane: By this time last year Cornell had released it's preliminary statement of that season's Big Woods search as noted in this blog post from May 2006. One can't help but wonder if much of the same wording won't largely apply to this season's initial Cornell summary. My own understanding (BUT I've NOT heard it from enough sources to be confident of its accuracy) is that there were multiple sightings during the season as yet to be divulged, including some better than the one made public by Rich Guthrie, but of course none considered definitive, nor any photos attained. Nor has much been said of any purely acoustic data gathered this season.
On the one hand I don't think Cornell recognizes how much they shoot themselves in the foot by being so slow to release information, and tight-lipped about results; on the other hand, given the critical scrutiny they are under, and likely defensiveness at this point, the reluctance to reveal details until all information is thoroughly reviewed/discussed is hardly unexpected.

No idea what sort of timetable S.Carolina or Texas might be on for release of summary information from those states??? (if anyone knows and is at liberty to say send it along...). And the Choctawhatchee search continues a brief while longer.

From the Web Grab Bag, GOOD news (...even if we have to go to Japan to find it):


And BAD news:



So do you still believe they are seeing Ivory-bills in Arkansas? With a $10,000 reward and all the robotic cameras in the very best spots and thousands of automatic game cameras the birds never show up in a photo? They've been in the area for years and there are no nests?
For the time being (always subject to change with additional information) I believe Rich Guthrie's account, and will wait to see what other claims Cornell reports when they summarize. There have been other claims in AR. from individuals independent of the official Cornell search as well, usually without enough details to judge as credible (though that DOESN'T automatically mean they are NOT credible).
Camera results are thus far disappointing but far from conclusive. And as I said a short while back, as far as nests are concerned, I've birded off-and-on for 40+ years and never seen a crow's nest; no necessary reason to expect IBWO nests to be easier.
Crow's nests are relatively easy to find. The little ones make a distinctive call. Drive around country roads. Stop and listen.

Do you concede that wariness does not explain why no IBWOs have not been captured by automatic cameras? They travel large areas during the day but never appear in front of a camera?
I can't totally concede it because birds may indeed be wary of odd metallic man-made objects that suddenly show up on trees (and possibly emit odd sounds on occasion as well??). Or, they may be wary of areas where humans have spent time noisily setting up such objects and returning repeatedly to to retrieve photo disks. I would guess that these cameras have missed 90+% of the bird species in Big Woods, and that could easily include IBWOs if they are paltry few in number.
In the same vein though, will skeptics concede that the likelihood that this species went extinct in the 40's is miniscule given the number of reputable sighters who claim to have seen them since? (...it's a rhetorical question, I already know the answer)
"birds may indeed be wary of odd metallic man-made objects"

A real Campephilus I saw this month was not wary of a land rover towing an ATV passing nearby. It remained perched on the near side of a tree throughout the episode. I was far more disturbed by these metallic objects than it was.

The real Campephilus I saw also remained adjacent to the only human habitation for miles around.

"the number of reputable sighters"

Only dudes and stringers report IBWOs, and only the gullible believe them!
'Overgeneralization' (from a few specifics to ALL) thrives among skeptics, especially the more gullible ones.
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