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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

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


-- To Whom It May Concern --


My email lately contains a large divergence of opinion on all matter of IBWO things... this, after 4+ years of study... we are hardly any closer to consensus now than we were before the process began, and maybe even further apart. Disappointing. My hunch is that even the 'powers-that-be' harbor widely differing, unresolved opinions such that their final summary report may be another wishy-washy document. They may even be parsing out all the data they've collected by now to see how many different publications they can squeeze out of it --- that's not meant as a dig, just an honest reflection of the workings of academia these days...

At any rate, to whomever it may concern, here are some things I'd like to see addressed in that final summary report, whenever it appears:

1) A rank-ordering or rating of pertinent states for how great officials view the likelihood of Ivory-bill presence based on all the data gathered. And further a rank-ordering/rating for the specific areas (within states) that are regarded most promising for further study.

2) More specifically I'd like to know how many man-hours were expended on central and western Mississippi, and the details of any searches there. Same goes for central Louisiana and northern Florida (not counting the Choctawhatchee).

3) Suggestions given for independents, who won't have the time and resources of official teams, on techniques that are deemed the most and least useful from the Recovery Team's experience (i.e., if doing cavity inventories is unproductive for the man-hours required, say so).

4) An account of the sightings from the last 4 years that officials believe are the most detailed, credible ones they have on record.

5) A fuller accounting of the results from the ACONE remote camera system used in the Big Woods: how many total photo-captures were there? How many were Pileated Woodpeckers? How many (if any) captures were unidentifiable, but in the size/shape range for Ivory-billed Woodpecker? They could supply similar data for the Reconyx cameras as well, but I'm most interested in the ACONE results.

6) Officials' own best speculation for why, IF the species persists, the last four years has failed to conclusively document them.

Anyone else have some things they'd like the final report to cover....?
Yours is a good list of things to e addressed. On point 4, besides the list of the most credible sightings, I would like to see a simple list (date, location) of ALL sightings reported within the historic range of the IBWO [perhaps, even better, ALL reported sightings including those alleged ones from New Hampshire, Minnesota, Maine, etc :) ].

I would love to see some public disclosure about the incomes of the key people and nonprofits involved in the 'sighting' and subsequent searching, book tours, membership/fundraising campaigns, etc. I'd bet that the income of some of these people and nonprofits has tripled or even quadrupled due to guest lecturing fees, book sales, government grants, etc. (At a minimum, there's been a doubling of income -- minimum.) Scientists and policymakers should be quick to disclose any possible financial conflicts of interest to enable the public to come to conclusions, but I've never seen any such sharing.
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