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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

Sunday, September 21, 2008


-- Physics --


Again, off on a NON-Ivorybill tangent today. This will probably be of interest to only a small percentage of you, but still feel it is too good not to pass along: The Large Hadron Collider, recently 'switched on' in Europe, has been the focus of much science news of late, and on "bloggingheads.TV" Sean Carroll (from Cal Tech) and science writer Jennifer Ouellette elucidate some of the particle physics and cosmology involved that make this such a momentous science story (before wandering into miscellaneous math and probability toward end). Hour-long video presentation from two excellent science communicators for anyone who finds modern-day physics fascinating.

Saturday, September 20, 2008


-- Old Reading Material --


A couple of emailers in last month have suggested that an official extended summary report of last season's Ivory-bill search might not be publicly released this year. Don't know if that's true or not --- and if true, don't know if that would be a reflection of a paucity of significant findings from last season, or rather because the quick burst of cynicism that now follow such reports make it less worthwhile to issue one (I'd think however, that legally, this type of Federally-sponsored work requires routine public disclosure in summary form).

In any event, while awaiting such a report, or the start of 2009 searching, LAST year's summary can be viewed here (as a pdf). I imagine any summary from this year will read quite similarly in its conclusions, though with dwindling funds, a smaller number of state areas may be included for future study efforts.

And the much longer (180 pg. pdf.) "Draft Recovery Plan" is available here, if you need more reading material to review while awaiting news.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


-- Collins Back in Louisiana --


Mike Collins has returned to Stennis Space Center, in pursuit of indisputable documentation for Ivory-bills' persistence in Louisiana's Pearl River region (...well, I s'pose he'll do some Gov't. work while there too ;-).
His new "2009" search season log here.

Sunday, September 14, 2008


-- IBWO Foundation Update --


Bobby Harrison's Ivory-billed Woodpecker Foundation blog has now been updated after an extensive lapse, here. Bobby is continuing to focus on certain areas with additional signs/sounds from Arkansas, while reviewing images captured by automatic cameras. Thanks for the update, Norma.
The official IBWO Recovery Team apparently met in Atlanta the first week of this month in preparation for the upcoming search season.


-- Hoping I'm Wrong --


This coming week a further short-term search of prime habitat in South Carolina gets underway. Over the past two years various key Ivory-bill researchers have pointed to S.C. as having the best, oldest, largest stretch of habitat (primarily the Congaree, but other areas as well) suitable for Ivory-billed Woodpeckers anywhere in the United States. Several signs/sounds of possible IBWOs have been reported in the state (more than publicly disclosed), and of course S.C. was one of the last bastions where Tanner himself believed the species held on 60 years ago.
Having said all that, and for a different set of reasons, I've never personally held out great hope of Ivory-bills being documented in S.C., or at least not ahead of other states. Of course, I'd be thrilled to be wrong. GOOD LUCK to all involved.

For further inspiration, this recent story of the elusive Okapi (ehhh, not exactly a tiny creature) finally being caught on film in the wild for the first time in 50 years:


Thursday, September 11, 2008


-- Science At The Edge (OT) --


Sorry, not IBWO, nor birds, nor nature today, but feel like I oughta post something pre-weekend (in case we all get sucked into a Black Hole from CERN's Large Hadron Collider by then --- not that THAT would be a BAD thing) --- so this clip of one of Jill Bolte Taylor's talks about the experience of her own brain stroke at age 37
(18 mins. long, but worth reaching the end). She's the neuroanatomist author of the bestselling "My Stroke of Insight" that describes what she learned about the left and right brain hemispsheres, and herself, from that personal experience. (And actually, truth be known, I'm not so sure that there isn't a smidgen of applicability submerged in all this, to the whole IBWO debate.) Enjoy....


Thursday, September 04, 2008


-- Whatever --


Summary of recent new species discoveries here.

A couple of folks emailed me last week asking if I knew any more about Bill Smith's purported Florida Ivorybill book... I certainly have no special knowledge of the book Mr. Bill has dangled before folks for 2 years (...and I prefer not to be emailed about it or his claims). I do know that he continues to post regularly on at least one aquarium group website (a subject about which he actually appears to have at least some first-hand knowledge, and puts aside plenty of time for... the IBWO, uhhhh, nnnot so much).
Some folks believe the supposed IBWO volume will NEVER appear, and some think it will eventually appear, and easily be categorized, like many other monthly releases, as fiction (ought we dare say 'science' fiction?).

I'm guessin' that given the miniscule interest he has generated, Bill must be insanely jealous of the Georgia yahoos who received weeks of international attention for their inane Bigfoot hoax. Some folks have all the luck...

Wednesday, September 03, 2008


Request For Volunteer


The following not-terribly-cryptic message/request for a volunteer appeared on a bird listserv today in case any reader has particular interest:

"Permitted research project on Picidae [woodpeckers] in prime habitat in SC is looking for one volunteer to complete a 6 man team for 6 days starting Monday, Sept. 15 and ending Sat. the 20th. Should know all field marks, calls and knocks/drums of E. Picidae, be able to camp and meet others in SC if possible. Project being done in cooperation with non-profit and govt. entities. Send contact info to NBP@comcast.net"

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