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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

Sunday, March 28, 2010


-- Gallagher --


If there is one individual on whose lap the 5-year search for the Ivory-bill rests it is likely not Mary Scott, or Gene Sparling, or John Fitzpatrick, or Van Remsen, but Tim Gallagher. Gallagher is the writer/adventurer and Cornell editor of "Living Bird" magazine who followed up (with buddy Bobby Harrison) on Gene Sparling's initial encounter in the Big Woods of Arkansas, and quickly saw an Ivory-billed Woodpecker close-up. A claim from Scott or Sparling or others wouldn't have meant much to Cornell, but a word coming from one of their own, quickly set them into high gear (oddly, since the major debate ensued, Gallagher hasn't said much publicly in defense of the finding, even though in a sense, his credibility is probably more on the line than anyone else's). Indeed, all along some have complained that Cornell has taken the words of their own people quite seriously while taking the words/views of others, non-Cornellites, with a huge grain of salt.

After Jerry Jackson's "In Search of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker," Gallagher's "The Grail Bird" may be my favorite popular IBWO volume, for it's coverage of many of the personalities involved. But as a volume that was actively being written at the very time of the Arkansas find (and published upon Cornell's monumental announcement) it opened Gallagher to easy criticism of self-interest and non-objectivity. Not a lot Tim can do about such perceptions. As a person with varied interests and responsibilities, his surprisingly low profile and limited activity in this controversy since it heated up, may be explainable, but hopefully we'll hear more from him on the topic at some point. He likely believes he's already said everything there is to say 100 times, and there is nothing to add. But his central, instrumental role in the saga may require him to speak out further, regardless of whether the species is confirmed or never seen again. This is surely one of the landmarks of his life now from any outsider's point-of-view (as well as from his own vantage point).

IBWO skeptics have long relied on one underlying concept to rest their case on, in explaining events of the last 5 years: so-called "groupthink." Take that away and there just isn't much groundwork to stand on to explain various multiple sightings. (Of course, 'groupthink' can just as easily, if not more easily, be applied to 60 years' worth of the skeptical viewpoint, as to the 'believers' side.) Gallagher is either the progenitor of the worst instance of groupthink in the history of ornithology, or an individual largely responsible for one of the greatest avian discoveries of all time. It's possible we'll never know for sure which camp he falls into. ...It's also possible we will.

An older online interview with Tim here:

Gallagher is a liar and a fraud, as are his cohorts at Cornell. Cornell and The Nature conservancy cooked up this massive hoax to drum up donations. Other conservation organizations and private parties jumped on the bandwagon to reap the financial benefits too.

The Nature Conservancy is still promoting the existence of the IBW and still soliticing donations. They should be ashamed of themselves, as should anyone else who is a part of or in support of the hoax.

National Geographic doesn't even know the difference between a Pileated Woodpecker and an IBW. They have a photo of a PW illustrating an article about IBWs and at no time in the article do they say it's a PW. The way the labeling is done in the article strongly implies it's an IBW.

This farce has gone on far too long. Mike Collins (fishcrow) should be tarred and feathered and run out of the country and the same should be done to all the other pushers of this breach of science and sanity.

That any so-called scientist or birder could be a part of this or be sucked into it is beyond comprehension, unless of course money and a desire for fame are considered.

It will be real interesting five or ten years from now to see what has transpired and to see if any of the snake oil salespeople admit their lies and deplorable behavior.

Tiger Woods, although being a total scumbag, is a saint in comparison to the IBW hoaxers. At least Woods didn't cost the taxpayers any money.
luckily for skeptics, whole twooth isn't overly representative of their mentality (...or at least one can hope).
Apparently you haven't noticed the ever increasing number of "skeptics", and that discussion of the IBW on your blog and on forums around the web has essentially died. If it weren't for me you would be lucky to get even a single response to your posts.

The writing is on the wall, only you and the other IBW pushers are too blind or ignorant to see it.

For some of you your whole life appears to revolve around the IBW and whether it exists or not. You're trying hard to save face but it's a losing battle. Believe it or not there are a lot of other organisms that are in deep trouble and need help from humans who care. Your time and/or efforts would be better spent on some devotion to them.

It should be obvious to you that people like FAV and concolor1 are no different from religious zealots and that if it weren't the IBW they chose to idolize, they would be touting some other crusade, and likely one that is just as hopeless and unfounded as the alleged current existence of the IBW.

Some people believe that they have to follow and idolize something and promote it to the extent of lunacy. Common sense is lost on such people.

It's one of the biggest travesties in recent history but the IBW is gone. If someone could PROVE me wrong I would be overjoyed, but I don't think it's going to happen, ever.

The ongoing dependence by "believers" on fakery, hoaxes, hearsay, blurry video/pictures, peeled bark, alleged sounds that could be made by just about anything, and nitpicking something as ridiculous as "wingbeat Hz" is just insane. You guys are missing out on all the other things that nature has to offer.

Why don't you start a blog about all the threatened and endangered species of the world, both plants and animals? Put your energy into something that really can make a difference. Stop looking for unicorns and Bigfoot.

IF, and that's a BIG if, an IBW turns up someday you'll be able to jump right back into the fray and gloat about how right you were. In the meantime you could help promote research and conservation of plants and animals that surely do exist and need the help of as many people as possible.
Bill P. left this comment on a another post, but I s'pose it may bear repeating here:

"Those interested in reading more of Whole truth's stellar prose may find it at his own blog:


Yes, it's the same profile number, not just a coincidentally similar screen name.
Those who seem overly fixated on badgering me for my own opinions may find them in great detail and excessive length at:

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