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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, July 22, 2007


-- 3-year Anniversary --


This blog enters its third year of posting believing in the Ivory-bill's survival, despite declining confidence that it may be documented to everyone's satisfaction; especially if the numbers remaining are truly small and thinly spread out --- on the positive side, Whooping Cranes were brought back from barely more than a dozen birds, though it's doubtful any similar recovery program for IBWOs could ultimately succeed. Still, the goal must be to prove the bird's current existence, not necessarily to save it as a species, but to prove it's existence through the 50's, 60's, and 70's, when appropriate actions might indeed have been fruitful. The Ivory-bill needs to be documented, not to show the success of science, but rather to demonstrate science's utter failure in this instance, in the hope that maybe such failures can be avoided in the future. If photo/video documentation finally now arrives, much hoopla will follow, given how matters have unfolded --- but that joy should be tempered with equally matching dismay and regret at the 60 years of delay and benign neglect, that any such documentation will represent.

By the way, three Ivory-billed related talks are listed for next month's AOU meeting in Wyoming, as follows:

1) "Further evidence suggesting that Ivory-billed Woodpeckers exist in Florida" GEOFFREY
E. HILL, Dept. Biol. Sci., Auburn Univ., Auburn, AL, DANIEL J. MENNILL, Dept. Biol.,
Auburn Univ., KYLE A. SWISTON, KARAN ODOM, Univ. Windsor, and TYLER L.
HICKS, Western State Coll., Gunnison, CO.

2) "A comparison of large woodpecker cavity morphology in the Choctawhatchee River
bottomlands and other southern forests" BRIAN W ROLEK, RUSSELL LIGON,
GEOFFREY HILL, Dept. Biol., Auburn Univ., Auburn, AL, and DANIEL J. MENNILL,
Dept. Biol. Univ. Windsor, Windsor, ON.

3) "Design and implementation of a region-wide search for the Ivory-billed Woodpecker with
the objective of estimating occupancy and related parameters" ROBERT J. COOPER,
PETERSON, USGS Georgia Coop. Fish & Wildl. Res. Unit and Univ. Georgia, CLINTON
T. MOORE, Patuxent Wildl. Res. Center, Univ. Georgia, and BRADY J. MATTSSON,
Univ. Georgia.

Meanwhile, Mike Collins has announced his return to Virginia after a long season in the Pearl (La.), with no IBWO photos to show for it, but testing out a new tree climbing/stationing technique for observing the forest from above; to be continued later in year.

Elsewhere from the Web:

If you're not already familiar with it learn more about the "Swift Night Out" program for studying the migration of fascinating Chimney Swifts to and from the U.S. each year:


Better yet, find a chimney in your area that is used by swifts and take part in the annual survey by monitoring it on one of the assigned evenings.
Hi Cyberthrush,

Do you know if artificial chimney swift towers are effective ways to help the population? A planned nature center near me is considering building a tower near the new center. Thanks for any leads on research into whether or not the towers attract swifts.
like so many birds, swifts are increasingly losing natural (and even man-made) habitat, so yes, artificial towers do help and will attract them, assuming they pass thru your area. Googling "chimney swifts +towers" will lead to more info.
one thing I should have added to the above comment is that though many (even 100s) of swifts may use a given tower as a roost site on migration, ONLY one breeding pair at a time will generally use a given tower for nesting purposes.
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