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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)

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-- 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

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


-- New Article From "Nature" --


Online article from "Nature" recaps where the Ivory-billed Woodpecker recovery program is now (purportedly a new "recovery plan" is "on the verge" of approval)... and it ain't particularly pretty.

A few choice quotations below (with the usual precaution that sometimes reporters get things wrong):
"...the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is on the verge of approving a final recovery plan to manage the species. The plan will lay out a conservation strategy, including what habitat should be preserved — all for a bird that many prominent ornithologists have given up on."
"But after five years of fruitless searching, hopes of saving the species have faded. 'We don't believe a recoverable population of ivory-billed woodpeckers exists,' says Ron Rohrbaugh, a conservation biologist at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, who headed the original search team."
"Jerome Jackson, an ornithologist at Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers who serves on the FWS's ivory-billed woodpecker recovery team, says that a draft recovery plan from 2007 is 'incredibly biased'. In his view, the plans have overemphasized evidence of the bird's existence to shore up political support for saving it. 'I don't think I'm going to be happy with the final plan either,' he adds."
"Meanwhile, experts are dealing with protests by Daniel Rainsong, a landscaper based in Ames, Iowa, who says he recently photographed an ivory-billed woodpecker near the Sabine River in east Texas. Rainsong filed a formal complaint earlier this month alleging ethical and financial misconduct, because biologists he approached would not come with him to the Sabine region to confirm the sighting so that he could collect a $50,000 reward.
Rohrbaugh says the Cornell team will release an analysis of Rainsong's photo in about a week."
What do you know about this statement from the article?

"Last December, an Indiana physician named Gary Erdy told Illinois officials he had a new photograph of an ivory-billed woodpecker from the same area. They later revoked his search permit."
actually, I'm checking into that right now; it involves a Reconyx photo (remote automatic camera), but that's all I know. If you followed the Erdy story last yr. you know there were several previous Reconyx photos of interest to some, from the same area -- I don't know if this photo is better or the same as prior ones.
Given the fact that the Rainsong is having to go to court to try to force a site visit, and the way he and his brother have behaved regarding the photo thus far, I think there's little mystery about what their report on the image will conclude: BOOOOGUS!!!!!

Rohrbaugh has always stuck to the straight Tanner line as far as potential habitat and such. Theoretically, if there are one male and one female left anywhere on earth then the population is potentially recoverable; it has been done before. And since Cornell's own statistics gave them an 80-something percent chance of missing a single bird in their most heavily searched area, you can't statistically conclude that the hypothetical NeoAdam and NeoEve for the species do not exist. But since we can't find them, if they are out there they are pretty much on their own, just has they have been all along. What good have human interventions ever done for this species in the past? The Singer Tract rediscovery lead to one bird getting shot and the entire habitat being clearcut.
Tom Nelson must be laughing himself to sleep every night
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