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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, June 02, 2013


-- Speculatin' --


In follow-up to the prior post on a most peculiar 1967 memo sent from the offices of a Forest Products Industries group to an official with USFWS, let me sketch out what seem like the only major possible scenarios that could account for the note (read the prior post if you haven't already) -- and I don't mean to be casting aspersions here, but simply stating the possibilities:

1) Mr. McClellan is simply lying to Mr. Goodwin in his statement about living Ivory-bills in order to advance the notion that the forest products industry is a good steward. [In relation to bald eagles he at least happily mentions both Weyerhaeuser and Georgia-Pacific, but in regards to the IBWO claims he conveniently offers no details at all.]

2) Mr. McClellan is writing in sincere, good faith, BUT has been lied to by another individual down-the-line, again in an effort to put the best face forward for the industry.

3) All parties involved are sincere and honest, but simply mistaken… they genuinely believed they were protecting a group of Ivory-bills, but in fact, had only Pileated Woodpeckers on site. [Perhaps wildlife officials at the time figured this out, and that is why the story never reached the public sphere; or, another alternative, perhaps the birds being protected were actually Red-cockaded Woodpeckers, another endangered species, but somewhere along the line, the names got confused during communications.]

4) All parties are honest AND CORRECT, and a small group of IBWOs (possibly a lone pair) were in existence, as stated, in 1967, on private company land. Perhaps the birds disappeared shortly after the memo was communicated... or, not. [Of course, in any event, those birds would be long gone by now, but it would open the door to speculation on how many of the species existed across the South at that time; AND it would be highly important as demonstrating once-and-for-all that the species survived LONG past the early 1940's when cynics have routinely chosen to write them off.]

There can be other nuances, but I don't see a lot of wiggle room outside of these 4 basic scenarios (but open to suggestions if you have some).
Personally, I'd bet on some form of #3, but would sure be nice if we could put this baby to rest one way or the other....

....In other matters, a new article from South Carolina on biologist John Cely's searches for IBWOs (he'll be giving a university talk upcoming on June 6 about those searches):


The S.C. searches produced a number of tantalizing claims, but, as usual, none ever confirmed.

And here's a short YouTube clip of Cely describing the Congaree habitat (in S.C.):


Re scenario 3, for the record: "The red-cockaded woodpecker has been on the endangered species list since October 1970 (under a law that preceded the Endangered Species Act of 1973)." (That's from a Nature Conservancy web page on the Red-cockaded Woodpecker.)
Thanks "Unknown," I actually had checked that myself and should've been clearer that the Red-cockaded wasn't yet "endangered" in the legalistic sense but its populations were known to be in danger and a matter of concern.

Thanks also to those who have sent along private emails with your own ideas. I'm still hopeful maybe we can get to the bottom of this.

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