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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, October 14, 2007


-- Still... No... Evidence --


Stiiiiill.... no solid evidence to support the notion that the Ivory-billed Woodpecker is extinct:

1. No thorough, coordinated searches of Southeast habitat for presence of the bird yet completed (just recently gotten underway). Those few areas lately focussed on resulting, almost invariably, in at least some sightings claims and/or evidence for possible presence.

2. No proof or even strong evidence that the 100's of claims over decades, are, in every single instance, examples of lying or mis-identification, often from individuals who's birding reports otherwise have been routinely accepted.

3. Not a single photograph of a leucistic Pileated Woodpecker with copycat markings of an Ivory-bill to account for all those IBWO claims over the years.

4. Never a single replication, authentication, validation, or even peer-reviewed critique (as customary in science) of the only solid study done on Ivorybills by Tanner. Whether Tanner did what he claimed he did, or accurately recorded his data, or drew valid conclusions, can in many instances never be known, anymore than the claims of more recent Ivory-bill sighters can ever be known with certainty; and even if Tanner's Singer Tract data/observations were 100% accurate, there remains no way of knowing what such a small sample even tells us about other Ivory-bills in other locales outside the Singer Tract...

In short, while there is plenty of evidence for the rarity of this species, there is little evidence for the absolutist stance of 'extinction,' just ongoing loads of conjecture, speculation, over-generalization, and circular talk.

Ultimately we are left with essentially two probabilities:

a. that all the claims/sightings, by different individuals in different places at different times under different circumstances and from different angles, are in every instance, errors, or

b. that an already-scarce bird living out its life in the upper canopies and cavities of deep forest has eluded definitive photography for a 60+ year period (over which time most people didn't even routinely carry cameras into the woods).

And each person must decide for themselves which probability they find greater, unless-or-until ongoing science answers the question for us...

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