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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, April 15, 2012


-- On the Big Screen --


Documentary filmmaker George Butler has been working on "The Lord God Bird," the only Cornell-endorsed film account of the IBWO search, as "a work in progress" since the beginning of this Arkansas-based saga. The independent film has been screened sparingly over recent years, and is included in upcoming Earth Day celebrations (next weekend) at the Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, if you're in the area:


An old 2007 John Trapp review of it here:


The film was originally intended as "the first in a planned trilogy of films dealing with extinction," with subsequent entries to focus on the Royal Bengal Tiger and the Lowland Gorilla.
Our favorite skeptic is perhaps involving himself again in subjects he has no expertise in.

Is it the same as when he determined that there were no IBs in the 500,000 acre, Big Woods area in Arkansas by walking a single transect over a few days? He used the absence of bark scaling (based on his experience) as the definitive "field mark" as he visually covered about 500 acres.

Or is it the same as when he and note-authors became overnight experts in video artifacts (based on their experience) and ruled in normal PIWO in the AR video?

Or is it the same as when he and associates determined (based on their experience) the heuristic IB wing beat frequency and associated differences between PIWO and IB? They have perpetually gotten this wrong or ignored the facts despite numerous basic aerodynamic principals flying at them and then.............recently....................... the film of the rapidly flapping Imperial Woodpecker.

Presently a rare Elaenia species (Central and S American flycatcher species) has appeared in Chicago.

The ID is still under discussion as to which of two possible species it is, but the prevailing leaning by those with decades of field experience and SA publications is that the primaries show P10 is longer than P5. They used multiple pictures of P10 (primary feather 10) and P5 on the SAME wing, and other different field marks to create this leaning.

Their experience and knowledge dwarfs 99.999% of any NA based artist or birder on these things.

Naturally our careful, skeptical commentator infers it might be the "other species" which would be NEW TO NORTH AMERICA (never recorded before, ever). In his defense he stated he had no experience with the subject species.

He used a P5 on one wing of the bird and P10 on another wing and then drew some line-tangents to create an imprecise way to even make the comparison. This is an odd method and rushed since there are numerous pictures of P5 and P10 on the SAME wing, from the same bird from days before his comments. One must wonder why he must make weak comments using the poorest available data. Has this happened before?

In addition he gave permission for his comments to be passed onto the right forum (since he had no direct access) as if they were important (based on his experience).

Is this a pattern that the person with the least amount of care and no special experience will need to insert himself in prominent ID related issues, regardless of the relative accuracy or importance of their comments ?



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