"....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.”
"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 04, 2012
-- Update --
Not much of an update (read prior post if you haven't already), but I've been listening to the Coyote tapes repeatedly, and received slightly more context about the sounds. My first impression remains the same, that these don't sound (to my ears), like what I'd expect of Ivory-bills… the pitch, tone, cadence, speed, rhythm doesn't maintain itself correctly through the tapes, even though some short bits do sound intriguing (but, I've done no technical analysis). Having said that, I can't pinpoint a good alternative candidate for the sounds either. Certainly though, a great many sources must be considered:
1) various amphibians
2) injured or 'yelping' dogs or other mammals
3) mechanical or artificial (man-made) sounds: bird calls, tools, hinges, equipment etc.
4) I'm not aware of insects that could make these sounds, but would want an entomologist to weigh in on that.
5) just among birds alone, jays, herons, waterfowl, blackbirds, hawks, escaped psittacine birds, vagrants, and perhaps more must be considered
If some of the above suggestions seem outlandish to people, one must understand that the possibility of IBWOs IS outlandish to people… to rule IN such a low probability possibility as IBWOs, one needs to consider and rule OUT all other low probability possibilities. And from what I'm told, several of the above are already considered and ruled out. Process of elimination is a somewhat weak, but necessary, way to proceed (and I would expect spectrographic analysis will rule out all but a few of the above, though not necessarily pinpoint an answer). My own guess is still that there WILL be an alternative explanation for the sounds (this is the time of year a LOT of forest critters begin sounding off!), but admittedly, with each listening I'm having a harder time surmising what it might be.
I'm curious, by the way, of what Nancy Tanner might think of the sounds, if anyone out there can draw her attention to them. Anyone else who cares to weigh in via the comments or privately through email, feel free to do so, as well.
I do think it's important to try and eliminate all possible alternatives, and I have the impression that some of what you've listed has been eliminated. I won't speak to audio analysis, something about which I have only rudimentary knowledge, but I can speak to field conditions, which argue for the elimination of some items on your list.
Mechanical and artificial man made sounds are highly improbable, if not impossible. The nearest, and very lightly travelled, road is approximately 1 mile as the crow flies from the site where the recording was obtained. We entered the public land from the only parking area that is currently usable due to high water conditions. There were no cars in the parking area. Taking the direction of the calls into consideration, the nearest possible human or mechanical source (excluding the crop dusting plane that was flying around) would be several miles away.
Similarly, the chance that it was an injured or yelping dog is extremely slim. The calls came in two extended series (with possibly a single, more distant call heard but not recorded approximately fifteen minutes before the series began.) We were in the location for over 45 minutes, and in the general vicinity for well over an hour, counting hiking in and out. The recorder was running for approximately 30 minutes, and outside of these two sequences, no similar sounds were captured.
I think I speak for everyone involved with Project Coyote in saying that critiques and alternative hypotheses are welcome.
The only remotely plausible mammalian explanation that I can think of is squirrel, something that no one - to the best of my knowledge - has suggested and something that should be easy to confirm or reject.
Got any photographs?
Bird not there anymore?
Bird can't be seen by human eyes?
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