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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

Thursday, July 28, 2011


-- Here and There --


Passed around lately, a 6-minute comedy routine surprisingly centered around the Ivory-billed Woodpecker here:


(caution: funny stuff, but some rough language for those with sensibilities to such)

As many know, there have also been some stills and video of purported/possible IBWOs floating around in the last month. A couple of instances pretty clearly show identifiable Pileateds, and I don't know that birds in the third instance are identifiable, but I see no strong case for signifying them Ivory-bills (there's a lot of information I don't have about the particular piece of film... but that only makes me even more suspicious of it). Again, at this point, we're in need of video that requires no analysis, but that shows what any birder can recognize as an Ivory-billed Woodpecker in 10 seconds of viewing... and then the provider of any such video must be prepared for intense and lengthy interrogation!

Finally, an interesting followup to the supposed travels of a mountain lion that ended up as roadkill in Connecticut back in early June:


And to end, must note that today is the 15th anniversary of Roger Tory Peterson's death. By his own admission, his greatest birding adventure of all time was searching for the Ivory-billed Woodpecker at the Singer Tract in May, 1942 -- his party, led by J.J. Kuhn, saw 2 females, and he joined that elite group of 1940's birders who's Ivory-bill encounters are unchallenged. He seemed to never completely give up hope for the species; I wish he'd been around for David Kulivan's claims just a few years following his death.

In memory, I've always loved the sign-off of Pete Dunne's wonderful eulogy to Roger:

"Roger was fond of saying that God, in all his wisdom, had crafted but two creatures with feathers: birds and angels. God, in his wisdom, gave us Roger Tory Peterson to interpret and instruct us. And although I do not wish to presume, and I cannot possibly be certain, I have a hunch that by the time I reach the hereafter, there will be a Field Guide to the Angels waiting for me. With luck, it might even be in its second or third edition." :-)

Monday, July 18, 2011


-- The Road Ahead? --


Yeah, slow as molasses around here, and expecting it to remain so through year's end....

End of July marks the 6th anniversary of this blog, beginning a half-dozen years ago with the idea of being a newsreel of occasional monthly updates on the progress of an Ivory-billed Woodpecker recovery program. ...Little knowing the controversy that would arise within but a couple of weeks over the very validity of Cornell's announced findings... nor the growing nature of that controversy.

On the bright side, six years has convinced me that there is enough habitat, enough food, enough adequately-sized trees, enough remoteness, to support small numbers of Ivory-bills in multiple areas. And a sporadic, even if scarce, continuous record of sightings over 60+ years from certain experienced, credible observers still hints at the species persistence. At least some auditory and foraging evidence lends support to that possibility.
On the downside, rapid and lengthy followup to good sightings (including even "hot zones") has not only failed to produce clear-cut photographic documentation of the species, but hasn't even produced the number of additional good sightings one might expect. And millions of automatic snapshots taken at suggestive cavities, foraging spots, and other specifically-selected sites have failed to capture a single clear picture of Campephilus principalis. If Ivory-bills exist, then human stalking competency of rare birds seems NOT to! Indeed, individual sightings are hardly taken seriously anymore; short of photographic evidence, lengthy, multiple, close-up sightings by experienced, well-vetted observers now seem required.

After 6 frustrating years little has substantively changed, except for the spread of skepticism. Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Florida, E. W. Tennessee continue to interest me, but that is meaningless until evidence breaks which is compelling to the wider, cynical birding and scientific community. At some point I expect there will again be such a story to cover (though a year from now I could feel differently), just hope it doesn't take 5 years as between David Kulivan's claims and Gene Sparling's!

I won't henceforth attempt the frequency of posts maintained here for the past 6 roller-coaster years (almost 5 per wk.). Obviously, I'll post whenever something arises I deem particularly timely and important, be that once-a-month or once-a-year! Otherwise, I may continue to cover the odd array of material I've covered all along, but perhaps with only 1-2 blog posts per month, each lumping several different non-time-dependent posts/links together into one.

Finally, at some point I may move the blog over to Google's current platform (they've been asking me to do that for about 3 years!), which could disrupt things quite a bit -- posts should remain intact, but the left-hand-column, and other formatting, may be affected a lot, and don't know how long it would take me to reconstruct it (I know just enough HTML to be a danger to myself ;-). Will try to warn readers ahead of time if/when I'm about to do that, in case there are sites you've been routinely linking to from here that you may wish to bookmark.

P.S. -- Multiple internet activities these days hinder me from consistently responding to emailers on Ivory-bill matters as I once did, but I do still appreciate the info or interest that folks send this way, even when I don't find the time to reply.

Maybe just some music pulled from the left column to close out with for the moment:


Saturday, July 09, 2011


-- Arkansas Big Woods via YouTube --


A nice float along Bayou de View here:

...and, a longer look at the Arkansas Big Woods here:


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