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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

Thursday, April 23, 2009


-- Congaree In Springtime --


A brief look at part of Congaree Swamp (S.C.) in the spring:

And Martin Collinson visited the Pearl River area of La. recently, but shy, humble Brit that he is, won't 'fess up to spotting any Ivory-billed Woodpeckers:


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Uh oh, That liberal commie pinko rag, The New York Times . . .Whoops, I'm sorry. That's so last century . . . Lemme try again . . .

The propaganda arm of the New World Order Conspiracy, aka The New York Times, just printed a story blasting U.S. industry for allegedly covering up the threat of global warming (which we know from our "Deluded in Duluth" source is non-existent):


Salt Lake City
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That swamp trip Collinson took is advertised all over New Orleans, great for tourist families on holiday. Seems to have led him to think he's had a real wilderness experience in the deep south. Not.

Wonder what the carbon footprint was for his little US jaunt. What's sauce for the goose. . .
just to be clear, I believe Martin was actually here for a scientific meeting in New Orleans, and simply took in some birding while it was convenient.
While I think Martin's analysis of the Nolin videos was amateurist at best (same by the way with Sibley et al. with the Luneau video), he has otherwise demonstrated to me to be a critical thinker (probably more due to his work as a genetic work). He has also impressed me by his writings about his birding jaunts with an excellent sense of humour.

To my knowledge he has never in public derided those who disagree with him, so folks while we question and dispute his analyses (in fact everyones analyses are subject to dispute), it might be good to remember that it is the ideas and data and how these are interpreted that is most important. There are plenty of character assassins out there and it is clear to me that they don't add anything to the discussion and in fact detract from it.

My two cents
His comment about the PIWO foraging pits was derisive, more subtle than some but still derisive:

"A couple of Red-headed Woodpeckers flashing their white secondaries, although I didn't see any Ivorybills, somehow, but blimey, I'm willing to bet some big bastard woodpecker made these suggestive holes."
Mmmm, Anonymous Guys n Gals, some of you seem to be taking me a little too seriously. I saw the deleted posts too, so if you still want your say you're welcome to post em up on my blog. I delete nothing :-)

So, I'm not totally stoopid... I knew the swamp boat was a tourist jaunt, but with half a day, no transport and no friends, it's a good way of seeing a bit of your swamps. Nothing more.

Amateurish. Yes, I am. My analysis of the Luneau video was a bit half-baked, maybe 2/3 baked, but as time goes on I become more convinced that it was right, and that the Luneau video bird was consistent with Pileated Woodpecker and not consistent with Ivorybill. Yes it would have been possible to do a more sophisticated, rigorous, comparison, of David Nolin's Pileateds compared with the Luneau bird (deinterlacing etc.). I'm sure non of you here is naive enough to believe that this hasn't been done subsequently, but the promised rebuttal of my paper has not appeared. Why? Because if an amateurish study blunders to the right conclusion, a professional study is not going to change that conclusion. The basic question, why a bird such as Ivorybill, whose plumage is strikingly different from Pileated, should produce a video image that is strikingly similar, indeed identical, to Pileated, has not and cannot be answered. The Luneau bird was entirely consistent with Pileated and therefore was most likely a Pileated; I just jumped into the conclusion from abroad with, as you describe, no direct knowledge of the conditions which the field researchers were experiencing and only a compound 2-3 of weeks of lifetime US birding experience. I suspect that's what really irks.

Of course, the Luneau video has no direct impact on the other reported sightings of IBWOs in the last 10 years, which you are at liberty to believe or not. Personally I believe they are all mistaken, but i've no direct evidence for that.

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