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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

Thursday, July 10, 2008


-- August Upcoming --


August is a month when Ivory-bills may be out-and-about, cruising the forest in family groups in search of food, and possibly dropping feathers along the way (Mike Collins reminds us, in a recent post, that August is a primary month for feather-molting in Ivory-bills)... and ironically, it is a month few searchers are ever in the field looking for them.
Mike ponders returning to the Pearl in August and keeping an eye out for feathers in prior hot zones, though finding a feather from an extremely rare bird is probably even more of a needle in a haystack than finding the bird itself (the only advantage being that feathers don't fly away or take evasive action upon approach) --- and getting such a feather DNA-tested, without good advance evidence that it is from an Ivory-bill may also prove difficult --- very few feathers (or other material for that matter) from 3 years of searching have been DNA-tested to this point, so far as I'm aware.
DNA-evidence would generate some excitement, but like other evidence would also be debated. For good or for ill, skeptics have firmly established the position of the bar for Ivory-bill evidence: either a carcass or a clear photo/video must be attained; all else is just grist for continued debate. A carcass, a photo or video, and essentially one more season to achieve it.

....for today's humor, a short clip from one of Britain's finest exports ;-), Benny Hill!:


and you may want to put yourself in the proper mood by viewing this even shorter bird clip first:


I don't think anyone other than OJ Simpson would discredit DNA evidence. That being said, when is the molting period for Pileated Woodpecker? And what is the ratio of Pileated to Ivory-billed Woodpeckers? Do you suppose Mike has given some thought to how many large black and/or white feathers he might need to collect (some of which may be crows and other non-woodpeckers) for DNA analysis? If he's up for it and can find someone willing to run the analyses, more power to him.
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