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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.

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"....The truth is out there."

-- Dr. Jerome Jackson, 2002 (... & Agent Fox Mulder)

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Friday, February 22, 2008


-- The ACONE System --


One of the technological side benefits to come out of the organized search for Ivorybills has been the deployment of the computerized ACONE camera system to the search in Bayou de View --- to capture automatically on film, over a relatively wide field-of-view, birds meeting specific size and profile parameters that fly into view. I've been impressed with the capabilities and results achieved with this robotic system. Other automatic camera systems (whether time-lapse or motion-activated) have various potential problems associated with them that this system bypasses. And there are always potential flaws with ground searches, helicopter searches, stakeouts, and the like. The ACONE system, pointed at a likely flyway for a long enough period of time, would seem one of the soundest (and most efficient) techniques employed in this entire effort.
But of course the bird must still fly in front of the camera, and it is discouraging indeed (specifically for the Arkansas search) that in close to a year-and-a-half of application the ACONE system, directed at what seems like just such a logical flight path for the bird, has failed to capture an Ivorybill on film. I find this possibly more dismaying than the scarcity of results from all the other efforts of on-site people combined, which I think easier to explain away. Possibly, it is a system that can remain in place in selected locales for a period of time even in the event that at some point ground searches are suspended (depending on funding). Whatever the final outcome of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker search itself, the honing of the ACONE system is to my mind one of the very positive by-products of this whole endeavor. It is a tool likely to have future uses in contexts which are not even foreseeable as yet.

Are they capturing many images of Pileated Woodpecker? Any numbers available to share?
they've certainly captured Pileateds, but yes, it would be interesting to actually see some statistics -- how many per day or per week??? and as a percentage of all birds captured?
I believe they've also had images that were fuzzy enough to be unidentifiable although IBWO could be ruled out; but have they had any unidentifiable images where IBWO could NOT be ruled out???
Also, I'm not certain if there have been significant periods of time when the system was down for repair or tweaking?
In short, a lot of pertinent questions that may be addressed in some future summary report (or maybe someone-in-the-know reading this can send in additional details)....
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