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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

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


-- Just Playin' --


Ngrams from Google is all the addictive rage these days, simply checking written word usage over the last couple centuries in all sources Google has catalogued. So of course had to check out "Ivorybilled Woodpecker":

Surprised though to find that, in spite of the last 5 years, "Passenger Pigeon" still blows the IBWO away:

It looks like the graph ends at 2000, before what must have been a huge spike after the Cornell announcement.
good point Buck; I went ahead and re-did the graphs now taking them up to 2008 (as high as Google will go) just to show that the overall effect doesn't change much (though no doubt much of the most recent material is not in the Google database).
I would think adding a hyphen between "ivory" and "billed" would be the more common search? Does that change the date?
To clarify...IBWO searches could be done using "Ivorybill," "Ivory-bill," "Ivorybilled," and "Ivory-billed"...each in combination with the "Woodpecker" word.

So...does your data include all of those terms? Or does it only include "Ivorybilled Woodpecker" as you indicated? "Passenger Pigeon" would be a much less variable search as there are no other choices. To be an accurate comparison one would need to include search data for all of the varieties of "Ivorybilled" for the IBWO. Google may group these together anyway...or they may not. I have found while looking for things on eBay that the search results can vary depending on hyphens and tenses and such.

I had originally tried the hyphenated form and that returned no results. I've also tried some other hyphenated words on the ngrams site with the same lack of results; not sure why that is the case.
Ngrams returns a different graph if you capitalize the initial letters, as in 'Ivorybilled Woodpecker'.
More interesting than the graph, try clicking on the date ranges below the graph!
This was just meant as a sort of throw-away, space-filler post, but thanks to folks for thinking about it & figuring out further interesting details -- lots of bloggers on the 'Net are playing around with Ngrams for all sorts of purposes (or entertainment).
A fascinating way to while away a couple of hours. Interesting to compare Ivorybilled Woodpecker to ivorybilled woodpecker (especially using a 10-year smoothing), and Ivorybilled Woodpecker to various endangered species (almost all of which "still blow the IBWO away." Don't know quite what to make of the differences, but fun to speculate about.
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