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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

Friday, June 27, 2008


-- Heeeeeeeere's Cornell --


Hmmmm... deja vu... all over again. . . .

Cornell's preliminary summary of 2007-8 search season now up here.

As anticipated, nothing much to hang one's hat on in the way of Ivory-bill evidence. A few things to note by way of summary:

1. Only five possible auditory detections in Ark. for entire season.

2. No sightings apparently deemed worthy enough to mention in detail.

3. Weather extremes hindered search through portion of season.

4. The Mobile Delta of Alabama, an area not much previously referenced, is one of the locales the mobile team thought most worthy of further study. Otherwise, their fave areas for possible IBWO habitat were some of the usual places: Pascagoula (MS.), and Chipola/Apalachicola and Big Cypress of FL. No mention made of the Atchafalaya or Pearl regions in La.

5. Preliminary plans call for another active mobile search team next year, re-visiting sites of note from this season, but probably no full-time team in Ark. (unless newer developments warrant it).

6. No mention of results from the South Carolina search, nor any other state searches, nor the time the Ark. team spent in Tenn. Nor any mention of any areas along a Missouri-Illinois-Tenn.-Kentucky corridor as being of interest. Indeed there is only mention of "small strategic searches in areas that fall within the ivory-bill's historic range" being organized. The report is focused on the Ark. search alone. No mention of any results from the ACONE remote camera system either, or how much downtime it had (they do mention that 2.5 million images from automatic Reconyx cameras were reviewed to no avail --- this isn't as significant as it sounds since the cameras are continually snapping pics on a timed basis regardless of any subject in front of them).

Lots of specifics are missing from the report that will no doubt be included in some later USFW document on the season. And there is no specific discussion of the new "randomized" search protocol that was employed for this season, though some have privately expressed the view that the protocol "tied their hands" and limited the quality of the search.
(Begin broken record) there are still places left across the Southeast to explore more thoroughly (...end broken record), and clearly next season will be the last chance for Gov't.-sponsored searchers to do just that, unless at long last, evidence that all can agree on is attained.

I'm with you on the ivory bill, Sir Cyberthrush, but this report does not sound encouraging. It's not scientific, I know, but let's keep our fingers crossed.
What's with the mobile search team? Two full seasons with a crowd of skilled birders in prime habitat, and not one sighting so far? What, no observer expectancy bias?
I have come full circle on this entire saga from the height of optimism in 2005 to thinking for sure this bird must be extinct. I feel all recent sightings have been a case of mistaken identity. It pains me to admit this, but the skeptics comparing the IBWO to bigfoot is sounding alot more plausible in 2008. I think its time to let go of this iconic creature and start to concentrate on other important things that still need our help.
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