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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

Saturday, May 02, 2009


-- Ambrose Bierce Redux --


Today just a re-written version of a post I did some time ago....

As a public service for any newbies to the Ivory-billed Woodpecker debate, I've compiled a brief glossary of a few terms one ought be acquainted with:

"Groupthink" --- A blind thought process that 'Party A' accuses 'Party B' of engaging in, all the while that 'Party A' is wholly immersed in it.

"Luneau video" --- Modern-day ornithological Rorschach test (or 4 seconds of cryptic, enigmatic, pixelated mystery) that splits all birders into 2 diametric groups.

"kent... kent" --- the sound that Blue Jays repeatedly make... when they're imitating certain big woodpeckers of the deep forest.

"Cornell Lab of Ornithology" --- the renowned professional bastion of knowledge and expertise in North American ornithology... or... NOT.

"extinct" --- the state-of-being of any lifeform that refuses to subject itself to current photographic representation.

"field biology" --- the "science" in which limited observations of small, generally non-random samples are routinely extrapolated to draw loose/false inferences and generalizations about entire populations.

"field marks" --- Specific physical characteristics/markings used to differentiate Ivory-bills from all other birds... except for briefly-glanced, over-sized, bi-laterally leucistic Pileateds.

Bigfoot --- creature whose very non-existence proves the extinction of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker.

"the non-commutative law of mistaken identifications" (or, the one-way direction of mistaken identifications) --- out of dozens of brief "Ivory-bill" sightings ALL can be assumed to actually be Pileated Woodpeckers, but out of 1000's of brief sightings of Pileateds none could ever be an Ivory-bill.

"extraordinary" --- a description typifying any supposition that you don't personally believe in, but definitely not applying to any supposition you do believe in.

"certainty" --- in science, the product of linking conjecture with circular arguments, while ignoring underlying assumptions; otherwise, a term applying only to death and taxes.

Occam's Razor --- the philosophical notion that when faced with multiple explanations for a phenomena one may as well believe whichever explanation one most prefers, and figure out how to justify it afterward.

Unless other news supercedes it, I'll post the readers' sightings report summary sometime Monday (it's proving more difficult than I anticipated to decide how best to summarize them.)

Haven't decided on your summer vacation yet??? Richard Lyttle posted this (South Carolina) offer over at IBWO Researchers Forum recently:


"Kent...Kent..." is also the sound that the blue jays STOP imitating when the non-extant bird stops making it after mating, warm-up, and green-up...Haven't heard one of the aggravating little buggers calling that "Kent" person in a few weeks now...
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