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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, November 11, 2007


-- Birds and Photos --


It never ceases to amaze me how much of the skepticism over Ivory-billed Woodpeckers revolves around the simple lack of a clearcut, definitive photograph. The prevalence of cameras (let alone video recorders) amongst outdoorsmen and birders is a relatively new phenomena; it's not as if people have swarmed into the woods for 60 continuous years, cameras in hand, trying to capture this bird on film, as sometimes seems implied.
In a recent estimate of bird populations in North America based on various counts/censuses and statistical extrapolations, I noticed that the estimate for Pileated Woodpeckers was 930,000. How many of those have ever been photographed I wonder? A tiny, tiny, tiny fraction I suspect. Should we presume that 900,000 of them likely don't really exist for lack of a photo verifying them? Are they just figments of groupthink and statistics perhaps? And what if there were only 100 Pileateds left --- how many photos would there then be? Possibly none?
Simply put, most individual woodland birds are likely never seen by human eyes, let alone photographed. That a few scarce IBWOs may have eluded humans isn't incredible, it's the norm that most individual birds accomplish. Yes, eventually, concerted efforts to capture such on film ought be successful... but eventually can take awhile, and, as has been argued before, may be dependent on finding an active nesthole of a creature that has no interest in being found.

Elsewhere on the Web:

further update on the Wisconsin Green-breasted Mango

... here a bird with chutzpa.... ;-)

...and sad, sad story here (SanFrancisco Bay oil spill).


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