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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, January 22, 2016


-- For the Conspiracy Theorists Out There --


Every couple of months I hear from someone who thinks I may have special, privileged information relating to Ivory-bills being found. Occasionally they've even seen something on the blog they think is a hidden message of some sort. When I recently changed the icon on my Twitter account (something folks pretty routinely do from time to time), I received multiple inquiries in one day, as to what it meant... I WISH it were so!! (i.e., that there was some sort of significant, definitive evidence lurking out there beyond public purview).

I've not seen any compelling evidence that Ivory-bills will be documented ANYtime soon. In the last 5 years not a single photo sent to me has been even slightly intriguing; not a single double-knock tape emailed my way has been convincing, and only a couple of 'kent' sounds, out of MANY, have been at least a little tantalizing. The likelihood of sounds, foraging signs, or cavities (pics sent through email) being convincing of IBWO presence is minimal. What is needed, short of finding a roost or nest hole, are multiple clear, somewhat lengthy or close-up sightings, preferably by multiple and experienced sighters. And it hasn't happened... in 70 years. Is it any wonder the skeptics are legion...

Since the USFWS/Cornell/Auburn searches closed down, I've had a few, but paltry few, intriguing bits of evidence hit my Inbox (and even after all this time and discussion, I still hear from folks who have no clue that there is a confusing species, the Pileated Woodpecker, out there, or that the IBWO was never west of the Mississippi Rockies). It's fine to send along claims and pieces of "evidence" (indeed, I enjoy perusing all of it), but realize that, short of a clear photo or video, the likelihood of a very positive response back from me is slim. (Yet I still believe, for now, that a documented Ivory-bill discovery could occur in a number of locations at any time).

This is all just to say that when I write folks back that I haven't seen anything terribly promising it is only because... I truly haven't seen anything very promising (the one rumor I heard last year that I found intriguing, completely fizzled). Indeed, most of what I'm seeing increases my pessimism, except for the fact that there remains soooo much habitat still not getting much coverage. But no, there are no conspiracies afoot.

Anyway, I meant to end 2015 with Sufjan Stevens melancholy tribute to the Ivory-bill (which I try to post at least once each year)... but in the hubbub of the holidays I completely forgot, so, before January gets away...:

"In the delta sun, down in Arkansas
It's the great god bird with its altar call...


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