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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, July 31, 2009


-- Tennessee... 'Hot Zone' ? --


Long-time interested party Bill Pulliam has begun posting some of his experiences searching for the Ivory-bill in Tennessee in recent times HERE.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


-- Pearl River Scenes --


Mike Collins has posted some scenic (and other) photos from the Pearl River area he explores here:


(he expects to be back there in a couple weeks-or-so)

Saturday, July 25, 2009


-- Watching Grass Grow --


This weekend marks the 4th anniversary of the start of this blog... Time flies when you're having fun! After averaging almost 5 posts/wk. over that entire time, things seem sure to slow down heading into blog year #5. Things are sluggish, as well, over at the "IBWO Researchers Forum" for the time being.

Sessions/papers for the national AOU Meeting next month in Philadelphia are now posted on the Web, and also as expected, I see nothing directly related to Ivory-bills (one presentation relates to Pileated Woodpecker ecology in what could be IBWO habitat).

Bill Pulliam has promised over at his "Notes From Soggy Bottom" blog to begin reporting next month on some of the findings/experiences of those who searched western Tennessee for certain big black-and-white woodpeckers over the last two years. It would be interesting of course to hear directly from specific team participants in other key states, as well.

Mike Collins reports he is headed back to the Pearl "soon."

And, in general, still a lot of loose ends to tidy up, hopefully before summer is over and the winter season is again upon us.

Friday, July 17, 2009


-- The Road Ahead? --


First, to those who have sent along emails of 'thanks' and well-wishes... hey, this ain't no funeral, nor even a farewell! I expect to be blogging about the Ivory-bill for some time yet, just with fewer-and-farther-between posts. There remain reasons for hope and belief that a few individuals still inhabit southeastern corners. No reason to kid ourselves though... 'proof' of IBWO persistence isn't likely coming forth soon.

I don't much envy the powers-that-be who will be summarizing 4+ years worth of data/evidence. Obviously, they won't look back in retrospect and conclude it was a futile effort, but to the degree that they express optimism or positivity over the results they will be ridiculed in some quarters for spinning or finessing the information gathered. Unfortunately, they're in a bit of a lose-lose situation no matter what they conclude (at least in some circles), but there will be positives in their report.
I am most disappointed (as blogged before) that after 3 years of scouting out areas, year 4 did not produce an increase in the number of credible, detailed sightings (photos I can live without, but there ought be more quality sightings by now, one would expect) --- will be interested to see how many of this season's sighting claims Cornell deems worthy of inclusion in their final report.

Also, I hope in that final report they don't simply offer up another loose laundry list (as we've seen year after year) of "potential," "possible," "interesting" sites deserving further attention. Instead, for the few independent searchers who might make use of such info, I hope they will pinpoint with some specificity the 2-3 places that they think MOST warrant additional concentrated efforts based on totality of evidence gathered, claims, sound recordings, etc. (However, not confident they will do that --- there may be too much disagreement among team members over just which geographic sites are most promising... I suspect there are a lot of disagreements amongst 'recovery team' members!).

Finally, as much as I believe it's just one itsy bit of evidence in this whole long debate, and as much as we're all exhausted of viewing it, maybe still appropriate at this time to post again the video that in many ways convened this whole controversy (...view it and wonder about all the "if-only's"):

Addendum: Above YouTube video seems to have been removed, but can still be found from this Cornell link.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


-- Article Update --


Article from the "Cornell Chronicle" summarizing the Ornithology Lab's conclusions to date --- nothing new for those who've been following the search all along. Although no further plans for future searching appear in the works, Cornell says it will stay "connected" to the effort and "engaged" in the process. A scholarly book on the entire effort is also likely in the offing at some point. Otherwise, the summer summary report for this season (whenever it appears) will likely be the last account we hear
for awhile from official sources that offers additional details and findings.
Don't know of any specific IBWO material being scheduled for next month's national AOU meeting in Philadelphia (other than possibly some related studies on Pileated Woodpecker ecology in the Southeast).

Critics will no doubt see all of this as Cornell trying to tiptoe gracefully away from the story. Time will tell...
Again, it's difficult to imagine how any future sightings, without a carcass or crystal clear photo accompanying, will be taken seriously.
Reminds one a bit of the old line from the classic Peggy Lee song: "Is That All There Is?". . . . .
(...I do expect to be around here for at least one more year reporting whatever there is to report.)

Wednesday, July 08, 2009


-- Open Thread #5 --


Indications are that "official" agencies will abandon most, if not all, searching for the Ivory-bill next season. One wonders how many independents will continue to have the motivation (not to mention time, energy, resources) to search if major entities throw in the towel. No doubt Bobby Harrison's IBWO Foundation will continue their efforts, as time permits, but will be interesting to see how many others do more than an occasional look-see effort. One can imagine that future sighting reports, unaccompanied by a photo,
may receive almost no press or even birding attention.

No idea when I'll have something to post here again for the summer, so will just toss up another 'open thread' for now in the event that others have something they want to discuss....


Sunday, July 05, 2009


-- Memory Lane --


Old 1936 "Natural History" magazine article reprinted online HERE covering the Arthur Allen Cornell expedition that recorded the pics/sounds of Singer Tract Ivory-billed Woodpeckers among other N. American targeted birds (IBWO material toward end of piece).

Saturday, July 04, 2009


-- "Dwindling" --


Brief news article HERE on the dwindling IBWO interest in Arkansas, with Allan Mueller of the Arkansas Nature Conservancy confirming his organization currently has no plans for further searching next winter [Cornell Lab of Ornithology has likewise indicated the probability that they won't return to the Big Woods next season].

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