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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, January 09, 2009


-- Mangrove Forest --


Last year there were a few rumors of Ivory-bill claims for mangrove areas of SW Florida. I'm not sure how seriously anyone took them, but Cornell did eventually send their 'mobile team' in for a quick look-see. Apparently they were intrigued enough with what they saw to go back this season for more serious exploration (there are a few distant IBWO historical records for mangrove areas). Were Ivorybills to be found in those mangrove forests it would blow open the already-flimsy notion that Ivory-bill habitat was totally destroyed in the 1940's, or that we even understand the needs/requirements of this species.

When skeptics say the Ivory-bill hasn't been found for 60 years, the false implication is that it's been looked for, for 60 years running, when in fact, until recently, it's been looked for relatively little in many areas; the mangrove forests represent a shining example of an area that has barely been touched. Southern Illinois and western Tennessee, other areas being further searched this season, likewise represent locales not given much serious attention historically. Were Ivory-bills to be documented in any of these regions it would offer an easy explanation for why they hadn't been detected in 60 years: nobody was much looking for them there! --- people have a strong tendency not to find things they aren't looking for...

And so today we have people looking for IBWOs where there is great habitat (as we define it), but where much searching has already taken place, and in places of more uncertain habitat, but where, by sheer neglect, the birds might reside undetected for a lengthy time.
There are swamp areas of great interest adjacent to the Florida mangroves also being searched, but if IBWOs were found in the mangrove forests themselves, against expectation and general tradition, it would require people to toss out much of what they think they know about Ivory-bills and begin anew (...of course for some folks, documenting Ivorybills ANYwhere will require such a re-evaluation).

A couple of websites with some further mangrove information:



I don't have any direct experience with mangrove forests; if anyone directly familiar with them wishes to comment, pro or con, about their suitability for large woodpeckers, either in Florida, or elsewhere around the world, I'd be curious to hear.

In Brazil the Lineated Woodpecker (Dryocopus lineatus, a tropical analog of the Pileated Woodpecker) can be found in mangroves. This is specially the case in the mangroves in the areas close to the mouth of the Amazon river where extensive mangroves connect with lowland forest.

At least two other Campephilus species are found in mangrove swamps:


I live in naples and my wife saw one in Collier County 10 yrs ago.
Feeding in burnt pine.

Never thought of mangroves but they are vast and seem to support all kinds of other wild life. Brutal conditions, no see ums are always bad in 10,000 islands.

"a few rumors of Ivory-bill claims"

That's why hope dies slowly.
What's with Bill Pulliam?

On November 2, he clearly hinted that he knew of juicy details yet to be released. He wrote, "There are some interesting results from the last year or so...eventually it will be released for public discussion; when that happens I'll have some things to contribute."

And now, with this more recent (January 8) post, should we conclude the same when he states "In the new spirit of non-openness...what I can say about this is nothing?"

Is Bill privy to something that you (and the rest of us) are not? He sure seems to be proclaiming as much.
Whoops, I think my last post ended up at with the wrong entry...I meant it to be with the January 11 entry.
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