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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, May 31, 2013


-- The Houston Files... --


"The truth is out there," so it is said….

 "Houston" (IBWO Researchers Forum) has unearthed yet another fascinating piece of written history from his Texas FOIA inquiries. It's a Sept. 1967 letter from "James C. McClellan" with the American Forest Products Industries Inc. (name has since changed)  in Wash. DC. to "Harry A. Goodwin" with USFWS also in Wash. DC. Goodwin had basically inquired about efforts major forest products companies could make to assist in the management of endangered species (such companies owning the bulk of old growth forest tracts remaining in private hands). The letter exchange is here:


The pertinent (intriguing) part of the letter from McClellan back to Goodwin reads as follows:
"We have been working with the Audubon Society on this endangered species problem and major companies such as Weyerhaeuser and Georgia-Pacific have surveyed their properties for bald eagle nesting trees and have taken steps to protect them.
One major company has ivory-billed woodpeckers on its lands in the South and has taken steps to protect the areas where they are located. Fearing that any publicity might attract people to the areas and disturb the birds, the company has kept this matter a secret. It does no harvesting in those areas."
Just a nice... brief... casual... off-hand... incidental mention of IVORY-BILLED WOODPECKERS!… or... as they are fond of saying on Twitter… WTF!!!!!! ;-)

Could there really have been a company-protected group of Ivory-bills somewhere in the South in 1967 and word not have leaked out long before now? Who all would've been privy to such information? I have real doubts that this is anything more than yet another case of mistaken Pileateds, but...?????  Where is Fox Mulder when we need him? (Any reader here perchance know anything further about the claim…? Someone alive today must have some connection to it.)

"Houston" is still expecting to receive more material from the archives so perhaps the whole situation will clarify itself in time. Or, in the meantime seems like there's a nice little sleuthing/research project here for someone: Are McClellan, Goodwin, or any associates still alive and reachable? Which "major company" is involved? -- from the wording I would guess it ISN'T Weyerhaeuser or Georgia-Pacific, but some other large forest or paper/pulp products company that has operations both in the North and the South, and obviously on lands (in states) where IBWO might be found (be aware there have been many mergers/acquisitions over time among these companies). I suspect one could find out what company (and perhaps even individuals) made the claim, and even the location, but I suspect also there's no documentation of the actual birds themselves, beyond weak anecdote (...or else USFWS follow-up investigation at the time showed them to be PIWO).

Sunday, May 26, 2013


-- Historical Reading --


For anyone not following the Ivory-billed Woodpecker Researchers Forum, "Houston" from Texas has been posting some additional archival documents lately, related to Texas/Big Thicket claims (old, but always interesting):




And if you missed them, some other documents (John Dennis, Whitney Eastman) that Houston had posted previously here:



Thanks for all the document-sleuthing, Houston!

....When there is a resolution to the Cornell Chris Dennis disappearance I will append the prior post to reflect it (he was scheduled to graduate TODAY). Yesterday, the local paper ran the following article:



Friday, May 24, 2013


-- Possible Tragedy --


Just a quick, potentially sad side-note to pass along (as some here would want to know)....

A notice from Cornell today reports that Chris Dennis, Cornell student and son of John Dennis Jr. (and grandson of John Dennis Sr., of Ivory-bill fame) is still missing after his canoe capsized on Cayuga Lake on Wednesday:


If by any chance you live in the area and can assist in the search, contact information is given above.

--> 5/27/13 Update: by the end of today (Mon.), sadly, there has still been NO conclusion to the disappearance of Chris Dennis while canoeing last Wed.  A blog is posting updates here:


And I'll also post any significant news as updates onto this post as well.

Sunday, May 19, 2013


-- Employment Opportunity --


I've been asked to inform readers of two job positions available, one for a PhD. student and the other for a Post-Doctoral fellow, both related to studies of the Magellanic Woodpecker in the Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve (Chile).

The post-doc position is described at this link (and I assume the same contacts can give info on the PhD. position as well):


My emailer sends along these additional links:




Friday, May 03, 2013


-- The Cincinnati-Choctawhatchee Connection --


Since Geoff Hill's announcement (never definitively confirmed) of Ivory-bills in Florida's Choctawhatchee region, a dedicated group of artists/naturalists from Ohio have gone down each year for a search.
Quick summary of their results here:


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