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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, March 12, 2010


-- Where To Next? --


In 1989, Jerry Jackson rated Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi the 3 most promising states (in that order) to look for Ivory-billed Woodpeckers (and actually considered Arkansas low probability) --- an assessment that seemed on target to me at the time. Amazingly, 20 years later, despite all the hoopla and claims and research and even new areas of interest, while I'm not certain of Jackson's current view, it still seems that these are the 3 key states for Ivory-bill searches (until someone can convince me otherwise), based on their habitat, corridor linkages, past claims, and especially in the case of MS. it's lack of prior coverage --- it's almost as if we've learned little or nothing of significance in the 20+ intervening years of study (others will continue to argue for South Carolina or Texas or Arkansas, and certainly cases can be made for these and several other states, but the question is where to get the most bang for the buck, or where might the species linger in enough numbers to make searching most worthwhile).

Those who by sheer convenience are able to search any particular area of interest should certainly continue to do so, but freelancers who are free to travel to any prospective areas may want to review Bill Pulliam's cursory 2006 habitat review of FL., La., and MS., included below (and do their own up-to-date Google Earth analyses as well):


I basically agree with Jackson's assessment, although I would rank La. above Florida. It is unfortunate that the Gallagher/Harrison sighting occurred in Arkansas, as it stimulated an enormous investment of resources in a state that I think has very few ivory-bills. But in any case I think we are generally moving in the right direction habitat-wise, and I also believe that independent efforts will produce results that refocus the attention of the powers that be in a more geographically relevant way.
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