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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

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


-- More From Cornell --


When Cornell's Arkansas Team never mentioned the results of their Big Woods' helicopter search in their Feb. updates, one could surmise it meant there wasn't much news to report. So not surprising that in a new Cornell summary of that endeavor, it is concluded that Ivory-bills and many other birds simply do not adequately flush for view at the sound of such overhead flights. Their summary here.

The principal piece of evidence they have is the small number (percentage-wise) of Pileateds which flushed out into the open (they have a sense of the overall numbers of Pileateds present from their extensive groundwork, and of course any IBWOs would be hugely fewer).
This reminds me that I've long wondered how many Pileateds are being captured on film by remote cameras in the Big Woods. Critics find it hard-to-imagine that, if they exist, Ivory-bills haven't yet been captured by remote cameras. Knowing the number and frequency of capturing PIWOs on film might give a slightly better indication of the likelihood that an IBWO ought to have been filmed by now. Anyone out there have such stats (both total no. of PIWOs captured, and as a percentage of all 'critters' captured on film --- one practical problem is that many shots of PIWO will be the same bird returning again and again to the same cavity or foraging site)???


And another aside:

Two men are staring at a lone sentence on a blackboard. It reads simply:

"Only an idiot would believe this sentence."

The first man asks the second, "Do you believe that sentence?"

The second man replies, "OF COURSE NOT! Only an idiot would believe that sentence."

Think about it....
(I've adapted this from one of my favorite, more unusual, internet sites: http://www.futilitycloset.com/ )

To conclude that IBWOs do not flush by helicopter, you first have to know that they are definitely there. And if you knew that then you wouldn't need to search for them by helicopter.

Is this plumbing previously unchartered depths? Or would only an idiot believe it?

Just say it to yourself slowly: searching for an IBWO by helicopter. Sounds like a great job.
If you find that most birds in an area don't flush by helicopter than it seems a fair conclusion that most IBWOs don't (of course you only need 1 which is why the effort was made).

The only way to conclude that IBWOs are extinct is to fully look for them and come up empty-handed (not to guess from an armchair) -- maybe that will happen, maybe not.
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