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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

Monday, April 06, 2009


-- Guthrie Updates --


Rich Guthrie plans to report regular updates on his latest Arkansas trip in search of IBWO here:


Don't know if Alan Mueller's search team has much longer to spend in the Big Woods, or if Guthrie (who's searching on his own this go-around), will try to touch base with them.

good luck r. guthrie! - fwiw; if you drive thru Biscoe bottoms, george tract, wattensaw, dagmar, barnes lake, etc - have those cameras ready to go on a moments notice-

ibwo hunter
1) Why don't these people just report back when they've found an IBWO?

2) Why is everyone who claims to have seen this bird an automatic 'celebrity'?
What makes Rich Guthrie, a well-respected birder who has been mentoring others for 30 years, a blogger for the Albany Times-Union, and a regular guest on a local NPR station, before he reported an Ivory-bill sighting, "an automatic celebrity?"
because we're talking about him here under a heading with his name in large font, he was in the press back then and he's running a blog about his search.

Lots of people are searching for, and studying, endangered birds. You don't hear about them and they don't shout about it. I've always wondered why this species attracts the noisy types.
He's not running a blog about his search. He's got a regular blog on the website of a leading newspaper. His writing there predates his involvement in the search, and if you had taken two minutes to look at the archive, you'd have seen that very few of his posts relate to the Ivory-bill at all.

This willful ignorance or deliberate disingenuousness is typical of the more extreme skeptics, and it's, frankly, disgraceful. If your case were really that strong, you wouldn't need to resort to such tactics. Rich Guthrie is a good and serious birder, and you've got no right to assassinate his character.
And. . .there are quite a few people out there searching and gathering data very quietly. This claim about "noisy types" is arrant nonsense. Some go public; many do not. The fact that Guthrie blogs about his search, among many other things, doesn't make him "noisy."
So keeping in line with a discussion going on further down regarding credibility, he seems to have great credentials. Now, if he reports seeing an IBWO which seems possible, and doesn't get a photograph is his sighting going to be dismissed as a misidentification as well?
Now, if he reports seeing an IBWO which seems possible, and doesn't get a photograph is his sighting going to be dismissed as a misidentification as well?

Certainly. And without better evidence it should be.

Wow MMinNY, you sure show a lot of moral outrage about such things as whether his blog is totally or partially devoted to Ivory-bills. He is publicly claiming to have seen an Ivory-bill which he almost certainly did not. “I saw the ivory-billed woodpecker,” Guthrie said. “I certainly did.” That's noisy enough for me.

I hope you are just as outraged about Steve Sheridan's hoax. I suspect the main source of your anger is the growing realization that no one will ever prove the Ivory-bill has existed in recent times.
Changing the subject is a great tactic when you've got no defense. As it happens, I am more outraged by Steve Sheridan's hoax than I am by your repeated misrepresentations and evasions, but that's neither here nor there.

Guthrie's a competent, reputable (indeed respected) birder, and he has the guts to make a public claim. There's nothing wrong with that. When you and others falsely impugn him, it has a chilling effect. That may be good politics, if you belong to the Rush Limbaugh school, but it's bad science.
"Certainly. And without better evidence it should be."

So now we are finally getting to the raw gist of it. No matter WHO it is, if they happen to genuinely see an IBWO and do not get a picture or other evidence then the sighting should be dismissed as a mis-identification, is that what you are saying ANON 8:33?
I don't see anyone falsely impugning Guthrie. I find it hard to believe you see that in any of the above posts and that it really has a "chilling effect" on you.

While those who really care about the world and wonder how the 9 billion people predicted for 2050 will coexist with each other, the remaining wildlife, and no fossil fuels, some (like Guthrie) feel that going off on a "birding" trip, focusing on a high profile but nonexistent species and urging readers to help out with an auction to preserve habitat for the species is a bit irresponsible.

And thanks for making me realize how much the IBWO "rediscovery" is like Rush Limbaugh. Having and abusing a public forum, using half truths and bombast to manipulate the masses, and building a devoted following of those who (because of a lack of imagination or initiative) had little purpose in life, is just what happened in the spring of 2005 with the IBWO. And as CLO, TNC, NPR etc showed there is no real line between politics and science. But they did find out that being politically savvy can only cover up bad science for so long.
The circularity is absurd: there are no sightings of ivorybills by a credible observer; anyone who has seen an ivorybill is delusional; therefore there are no sightings of ivorybills by a credible observer...
Of course Guthrie was falsely impugned. RE-READ THE POSTS, YOU IDIOT!
Is being called an "automatic celebrity" and being called "noisy" because of blogging about one's search - rather than just searching - falsely impugning someone? CT clearly wanted us to talk about Guthrie and as a result put up a post about his blog. Someone pointed out that it is strange that anyone with binoculars, a blog and enough disposable income to drive south in spring can now be a celebrity.

BTW, CT has asked us to be civil, 11:12, so you many want to cut down on the name calling and find out what the heck is making your caps lock key that sticky.
The statements about Guthrie's blog made on this thread were false, insofar as they said that he's "running a blog about his search." He's not; he's got an existing blog on birding and is currently writing about his search. Big difference, and you know it.

The assertion that he's "noisy" for blogging about it implies that he a) should shut up, hence the chilling effect, and b) is seeking fame by doing so. There's not a shred of evidence for the latter.

This kind of garbage compounds the misleading statements that were made when Guthrie first reported his sighting, for example the implication that he got national NPR coverage for it and was somehow seeking and getting undue attention. In fact, he discussed his sighting on a local NPR affiliate show on which he was already a regular guest.

This kind of mud has been thrown at virtually anyone who claims to have seen an Ivory-bill. Sometimes the attacks are even more scurrilous.

People making these and similar allegations do so in an attempt to insinuate that people who claim Ivory-bill sightings are liars in pursuit of fame and/or fortune. The laughable assertion that Guthrie is somehow a "celebrity" because Cyberthrush has linked to his blog is a transparent attempt to advance this smear.
Speaking of Limbaugh and more generally of the right-wing noise machine, I seem to recall that the word celebrity was similarly deployed in an attempt to smear Obama last year.

Funny how the tactical and rhetorical stances mirror each other.
If indeed you find the "attacks" on Guthrie scurrilous and chilling you should really try to get out more. You would be amazed at how cruel, random and unfair the real world is.

And since the modern definition of celebrity is "someone who is well known for being well known" then Guthrie falls into that category. The searcher who is out there actually looking for the birds with no blog or even internet access is not a "celebrity" birder.

You (and Guthrie) cannot expect the public to agree with all of the conclusions, views, media strategies, etc. of the IBWO folks. To call any opposing view a smear is not so much chilling as just stupid.
"Stupid," huh? Now who's being uncivil?

I get out plenty, both personally and professionally, and I've been subjected to my share of attacks of various kinds, most of them far more bruising than your smug and insulting post. I'm home sick at the moment; otherwise, I probably wouldn't bother with you.

My posts about Guthrie's history make it abundantly clear that he's known (to the extent that he's known) for being a first-rate birder, not for "being well known for being well known."

I don't expect "the public" (whatever that means) to agree with "all the conclusions, etc." and I'm perfectly content to engage in reasonable, if heated, debate on the merits. But I object to mudslinging as a tactic, and there's been far too much of it from some (but by no means all) skeptics. That's been true for decades, and fear of being subjected to personal attacks does indeed have a chilling effect.

I haven't called all opposing views smears, just yours (assuming you're the anonymous with whom I've been debating,) and I've meticulously documented my reasons for doing so. Try and obfuscate all you like; the words are there for everyone to read.
I still fail to see the "smears". But as this entire IBWO story has shown not only beauty, but also most everything else, is in the eye of the beholder.
I see a comment someone made describing someone as "noisy" if they have a daily posting about their birding adventures. You don't see that as being "noisy" but I see no reason to call it a smear. The majority of the cacophony of the internet is certainly not fed by people who are "quiet".

But sorry you are home sick. I am under the weather myself. Looking forward to getting out and looking for some feathered bipeds in a few days.
I'm starting to feel like Bill Pulliam. I don't know which Anonymous is which, but Anonymous @ 2:04, thanks. I hope you feel better too. I'd much rather be out in the field than bickering on the net.
Well please don't start 'analysing' any photos

Probably best to be in the field
As to the comment: "Lots of people are searching for, and studying, endangered birds. You don't hear about them and they don't shout about it. I've always wondered why this species attracts the noisy types."

Do a little more searching; you might be surprised how many "noisy types" are out there saying plenty on their blogs, sometimes being picked up on other blogs, yet saying essentially nothing about IBWOs. Sibley, for instance, has made a few comments on IBWOs, but has focused largely on other birding issues...and though he may not be engaged in endangered species research, conservation prioritization has been a big beef with his criticism of IBWO reports. Is he a noisy celebrity type, too?
Of course Sibley is a "noisy celebrity type". He earns a living by selling books. The more people hear of him and from him the more he is likely to sell books, get speaking fees for "birding festivals", etc. It is called PR and if someone is trying to sell you something they are likely to be doing a good amount of PR. I tend to have more faith in people who live life looking for the truth rather than the money (and there are a number of IBWO searchers that are truth seekers) but in our society one's success in an endeavor is typically measured by how much money one makes in that endeavor.
To 10:43

Thank you, I agree. And to add to that, the louder people seem to attatch alot of self importance to themselves which in turn is interpreted as know all knowledge that the masses follow. Being loud and wealthy does not always mean you know everything or even know alot. I think recent events have bore that out. :)
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