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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

Saturday, November 24, 2007


-- Who Cyberthrush Is... NOT --


Though several readers know me personally and many others at least know my name and locale, many others still do not; so am regularly amused by guesses, invariably wrong, of my identity.
Just to set the record straight (lest some other folks be besmirched by false association), let me say that I am NOT in any way related to Laura Erickson, Julie Zickefoose, Noel Snyder, or anyone else prominent in birding circles (and not related to Paris Hilton ** or Brad Pitt ** either). Nor am I a retired biology or ornithology professor, nor professionally connected to Cornell's Lab of Ornithology, or any other ornithology or conservation group for that matter (indeed, as Groucho Marx opined, I'm not too sure I'd even want to belong to any group that would have me as a member ;-)).

Cyberthrush is simply one of millions of average weekend birders around America, who happens to have a long abiding interest in math, science, birds, and... the Ivory-billed Woodpecker (pretty much in that order). I've never seen an Ivory-bill, nor expect to --- once they are documented, I'd prefer that only trained ecologists, naturalists, and forestry personnel, be permitted in the area, and most birders, like myself (and even the vast majority of ornithologists), be kept out, well OUT --- I don't expect that to happen, but one can wish. I'm not convinced that the birding community in general, with entrenched competitiveness and professional jealousies, can be of great help to this species now, except by preserving more habitat and minimizing human presence. But studies will no doubt be done (and at least some false conclusions likely be drawn and argued over).

My own Ivory-bill stance is itself a tad ironic given an undue skepticism on my part of biological matters in general (where variables are far too complex and interactive for certainty)
--- I have minimal scientific faith in bird data, bird counts, bird lists, species' taxonomy, journal articles, field biology in general, or even avian molecular work. But I do have faith in repeated bird observations by reputable, credible individuals, and ultimately first-hand observation is the underlying basis of birding --- indeed, if we discount it too much there can be little good science at all left to birding.

So I'll continue to doubt whether Central American hummingbirds ever make their way to Wisconsin under their own power, or whether anyone has truly seen over 8000 species of birds in their lifetime, or whether birds really evolved from dinosaurs (there are counter theories), or whether the AOU ever employs common sense in the re-naming and re-re-naming of North American birds, or whether it was humanly possible for a lone grad student in the 1930's to have conducted a thorough research study of a rare bird species across the entire American Southeast, BUT.... I don't much doubt that several people in my lifetime have observed Ivory-billed Woodpeckers, and others will continue to do so, and moreover, that living creatures routinely surpass the limitations we humans, in our myopia, erroneously place on them. ...May it be so, and more importantly, may it, in time, be documented to everyone's satisfaction.

[ ** just dropped these in to increase 'hits' during Google searches ;-) ]

Elsewhere on the Web:

see the International Bird Rescue Research Center blog for updates on the oil spill in San Francisco Bay and ongoing bird rescue efforts there, or to donate money to help.

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