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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

Sunday, November 08, 2009


-- A Side Note --


In a comment below (prior post), "spatuletail" inquires about the "wingbeat frequency" in the videos....

However, a problem with the measurement of flaps, speeds etc. is that we have little good historical basis or data on the Ivory-billed Woodpecker for comparison, so it all quickly becomes highly speculative. But moreover, there is no such thing, for example, as A cruising speed for a bird; there are cruising speeds; it depends on too many variables. Is it really cruising or is it being chased (or spooked) or chasing something; is it flying into the wind or with the wind; is it flying long distance or from one branch to another 30 yards away; is it flying above the trees or through the forest; is it sick or injured or tired or well; is it a young juvenile or a gravid female; is it hungry or full; and on and on. These are living, breathing creatures, not marbles on a tabletop that can be easily calculated and predicted. Yes, there are physical constraints that will put a defined range on what, for example the "flap rate" of a given bird might be, but the variables are many and complex, and just a couple of values mis-calculated slightly at the beginning of the process can result in a final computed value that is considerably off.

Don't misunderstand, I'm all for every technical analysis at our disposal being employed and thrown into the mix on these things. Just saying many of them have to be taken with a huge non-definitive grain of salt. It is why, for me, the evidence I've weighed most heavily over the years are sightings from knowledgeable, capable observers who feel certain they've seen an Ivory-billed Woodpecker (and, yes, those too can be mistaken), rather than the evidentiary material that comes from any after-the-fact analysis or hindsight, involving a myriad of intervening variables.
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