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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)

“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

Sunday, August 10, 2008


-- Side Notes --


I've previously mentioned the newly-revised Peterson Guide to Birds of North America, but only this weekend saw and held it in my hands. Very handsome, wonderful volume. Call me old-fashioned, nostalgic, or clinging to the past, but I still find Peterson's artwork unmatched in field guide circles (and these are of course mostly the same old depictions already published numerous times) --- simple yet alive; not too minimal, and not too detailed; just right. The text is, as always, succinct but instructive. The images are enlarged (for us ol' codgers I guess ;-) I still think this is potentially the best guide for beginning and intermediate birders. (For those who don't know, this new version combines the earlier Eastern and Western editions into one volume, and is almost as large as the original Sibley guide, but not quite as unwieldy.) The cover is fittingly a beautiful portrayal of yellow-shafted flickers, the bird that started it all for Roger. With all the new bird field guides flooding the market in the last few years, nice to see this old friend still holding its own.

'Rip' Lyttle reports a couple of partially leucistic Pileated Woodpeckers in the part of South Carolina he is searching (additional white on wing/back area). He has posted a few pics on the Ivory-bill Researchers Forum site (you need to be a member to access pics I believe) -- nothing that would be readily mistaken for IBWO. Still awaiting for someone to capture on film one of these birds having symmetrical patterning across the wings that actually mimics an Ivory-bill's large patches (Noel Snyder claims to have seen one years ago, but no pic). Even statistics for the number of significantly leucistic Pileateds that are recorded across the southeast would be interesting to know. But for now this is just auxiliary information. [SEE comment/clarification below]

Rip's Pileateds are not partially leucistic, they are molting their upper wing coverts exposing white (i.e., they are normal Pileated). Same thing with the original (and mistaken)report of partially leusitic Pileateds in Arkansas by Jim Bednarz that were in fact also molting (not counting of course the almost entirely leusistic Pileated found on White River NWR). Cornell folks discuss all this on their website. The main point remains that no one has yet documented a Pileated with white secondaries.

Noel Synder may have seen a normal Pileated with lighter brown primaries which in certain lighting conditions have fooled some other folks as appearing white, but they are outer primaries and not secondaries as far as has been documented.
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