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Old Thursday 14th September 2006, 20:58   #6851
Curtis Croulet
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Cyberthrush has posted a link to this interesting article: http://www.sosrhino.org/news/rhinonews090606.php
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Old Saturday 16th September 2006, 22:20   #6852
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Mary Scott has updated her website with a teaser about the rumored upcoming announcement by someone about birds somewhere - http://www.birdingamerica.com/Ivoryb...woodpecker.htm

Wouldn't it be nice if this time there was some fire to go with all the smoke?
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Old Saturday 16th September 2006, 23:22   #6853
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Originally Posted by John Mariani

Wouldn't it be nice if this time there was some fire to go with all the smoke?
Indeed. As opposed to mirrors.
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Old Sunday 17th September 2006, 07:29   #6854
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Well...we now have more of a hint as to who might be associated with the rumor. The printed program (lacking abstracts) is now available for the upcoming AOU meeting in Veracruz (http://www.naoc2006.org/files/naoc2006_pgmbk-en.pdf) and there will be a presentation by Geoffrey E. Hill, Ph.D, of Auburn University (Alabama). The title does not give any indication that the rumored thriving population will be documented:

Hill, G. E.; Mennill, D. J.; Rolek, B.; Hicks, T.; Swiston, K.: THE DOUBLE
KNOCK OF CAMPEPHILUS WOODPECKERS: WHAT SHOULD AN IVORY-BILLED WOODPECKER SOUND LIKE?

However, the coauthors appear to be independent of CLO and Dr. Hill has a stellar publication record (see his website: http://www.auburn.edu/academic/scien...lab/index.html). Without seeing an abstract, we can only speculate whether new data will be presented. Certainly, this group appears to be the likely candidate that is expected to make an "announcement" soon about new evidence. If so, I am doubtful that Dr. Hill would put his reputation on the line with flimsy evidence.

There will be another talk given by the Cornell group:

Hill, III, J. R.; Rohrbaugh, R.; Luneau, M. D.; Lammertink, M.; Swarthout, E.: USE OF TIME-LAPSE SURVEILLANCE CAMERAS IN THE SEARCH FOR THE IVORY-BILLED WOODPECKER (CAMPHEPHILUS PRINCIPALIS)

As expected, the vultures at the CLO hate blog are circling. Some have already derided and ridiculed the evidence before even seeing it.
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Old Sunday 17th September 2006, 10:38   #6855
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I see Daniel Mennill is viewing the thread

Hi Daniel, Have you (or any of the paper presenters) seen an IBWO well enough to identify it?

atb
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Old Sunday 17th September 2006, 13:01   #6856
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sidewinder
I am doubtful that Dr. Hill would put his reputation on the line with flimsy evidence.
It is unfortunate that this anti-science attitude is pervasive among birders and ornithologists. Evidence that is less than perfect may still contain important information. In fields such as astronomy and x-ray diffraction, scientists obtain important information by interpreting images that are in many cases of much lower quality than the ivorybill images that have been obtained so far.
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Old Sunday 17th September 2006, 13:56   #6857
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cinclodes
It is unfortunate that this anti-science attitude is pervasive among birders and ornithologists. Evidence that is less than perfect may still contain important information. In fields such as astronomy and x-ray diffraction, scientists obtain important information by interpreting images that are in many cases of much lower quality than the ivorybill images that have been obtained so far.
You raise a very interesting point. Cosmologists claimed in 1996 that evidence supporting extra-solar planets (51 Pegasi, I believe) proves that Earth and our solar system are not unique in the universe. They never did see the planets orbiting other stars - they inferred that planets "must" be orbiting other stars due to a gravitational pull measured in the star as the "planet" orbits around. I would have to look up the article to get more details but this kind of "planetary announcement" is quite common now, with hundreds having been named, none of which have actually been seen.

So the point is, in who's eyes is something confirmed and when is it appropriate to publish a paper stating so? If the debate over the IBWO is carried over to the debate on planets, then extra-solar planets couldn't exist based on what has been presented.
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Old Sunday 17th September 2006, 14:10   #6858
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cinclodes
It is unfortunate that this anti-science attitude is pervasive among birders and ornithologists. Evidence that is less than perfect may still contain important information. In fields such as astronomy and x-ray diffraction, scientists obtain important information by interpreting images that are in many cases of much lower quality than the ivorybill images that have been obtained so far.

Funny, there was me thinking how like diffraction patterns some of claimed Ivory Bill pics are. I wonder what their Fourier transforms look like!
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Old Sunday 17th September 2006, 14:36   #6859
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sidewinder
Hill, G. E.; Mennill, D. J.; Rolek, B.; Hicks, T.; Swiston, K.: THE DOUBLE
KNOCK OF CAMPEPHILUS WOODPECKERS: WHAT SHOULD AN IVORY-BILLED WOODPECKER SOUND LIKE?
If they've (allegedly) discovered IBWOs, why do they need to ask?
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Old Sunday 17th September 2006, 14:49   #6860
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One comment to this news on Tom Nelson's site states that 'there is to be a presentation at AOU by the grad student who claims the multiple pairs in Florida. He missed the paper deadline, and wouldn't put in a poster, but two people told me that they are giving him space somewhere else.'
Ah, rumours about rumours...
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Old Sunday 17th September 2006, 15:39   #6861
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Johnston
One comment to this news on Tom Nelson's site states that 'there is to be a presentation at AOU by the grad student who claims the multiple pairs in Florida. He missed the paper deadline, and wouldn't put in a poster, but two people told me that they are giving him space somewhere else.'
Ah, rumours about rumours...
sort of like the rumors 70 years ago, I guess, that there were Ivory-bills in Madison Parish, La., and just to prove it, let's go shoot one. The same mindset at work... (and to some degree I mean this literally, for all this controversy over the species has undoubtedly put a huge bounty on this bird for collectors and poachers around the globe).
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Old Sunday 17th September 2006, 16:41   #6862
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Johnston
One comment to this news on Tom Nelson's site states that 'there is to be a presentation at AOU by the grad student who claims the multiple pairs in Florida. He missed the paper deadline, and wouldn't put in a poster, but two people told me that they are giving him space somewhere else.'
Ah, rumours about rumours...
In their increasingly desperate attempts to discredit anyone who finds this species, the skeptics will look for the most minute details to try to sully reputations. It's no wonder they have become so desperate--scientists working completely independently at three sites separated by hundreds of miles are now claiming multiple sightings at each location.

By the way, Geoff Hill is not a graduate student. In 1991, he received a Ph.D. in biology from Michigan University. He is a chaired professor in the biology department at Auburn University.
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Old Sunday 17th September 2006, 17:39   #6863
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Allwood
I see Daniel Mennill is viewing the thread

Hi Daniel, Have you (or any of the paper presenters) seen an IBWO well enough to identify it?

atb
Tim
IF the info on Mary Scott's web site is accurate and there are as many as 9 pairs at this unnamed site...then logically they MUST have good identification of the bird(s). I mean, realistically, how could anyone claim to have located a colony of up to 9 pairs and gotten that count without coming in contact with pairs repeatedly?

Three possible answers -

1. The "9 pairs" have been documented with enough evidence to come up with a reasonable estimate of the population, in which case the existence of the population has been proven.

2. The "9 pairs" is a flimsy guesstimate based upon the available habitat and locations of knocky knocks, kent calls, bark scrapings, and possible sightings (like the best-guess estimate of 6 pairs in SE Texas back in the 60s).

3. Or we are following a ball of string.

I don't see much difference between answers 2 and 3.
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Old Sunday 17th September 2006, 17:57   #6864
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Originally Posted by cinclodes
By the way, Geoff Hill is not a graduate student. In 1991, he received a Ph.D. in biology from Michigan University. He is a chaired professor in the biology department at Auburn University.
I don't think they're referring to Geoff Hill.
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Old Sunday 17th September 2006, 22:50   #6865
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Nine pairs would be pretty awesome, just hope that if they say it's definite, that it really is.
And not just for their sakes...
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Old Sunday 17th September 2006, 23:42   #6866
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Originally Posted by colonelboris
Nine pairs would be pretty awesome, just hope that if they say it's definite, that it really is.
And not just for their sakes...
If this story pans out, I just hope it gets handled in as judicious a manner as possible. No wild stampedes to the area and hopefully there will be some sensitivity shown to the ones who may be leery of some sort of future restrictions.

Maybe this will get handled right.
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Old Monday 18th September 2006, 13:21   #6867
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sidewinder
... Dr. Hill has a stellar publication record (see his website: http://www.auburn.edu/academic/scien...lab/index.html).
A few thoughts in anticipation of new evidence being presented.

Having a stellar publication record and having a stellar field identification record are 2 different things. I'm not saying that the publication record doesn't hold any weight, but I would look at what the publications are. Just because you are a brilliant research ornithologist does not by necessity imply that that brilliance carries over into field identification. I'd be more impressed if a field guide author or a tour leader with a stellar reputation was making claims in matters of field identification. Field experience matters and talent bubbles up to the top.

Reputations in this matter could pull one in two directions, maintaining one's name or making one's name.

There is a difference between a skeptic and a cynic in this matter. True believers and true disbelievers do not need to look at evidence since their minds are made up. In my opinion everyone should be looking at the evidence as objectively and dispassionately as possible.

People have to be confident enough to present their case knowing that people are going to ask the tough questions.

I hope people stay away from the villification and other personal attacks of those presenting evidence, those asking tough questions & those offering analysis.

Here's a list of skeptical IBWO evidence questions I had posted earlier that I've updated based on previous comments. I think that the types of questions that are generally being discussed about a set of evidence can be used to rate the quality of the evidence. In increasing order of quality:

1. Is this a bird?
2. Is this a woodpecker?
3. Is this a Red-headed Woodpecker (RHWO), PIWO or IBWO?
4. Is this a PIWO or an IBWO?
5. Is this an aberrant PIWO or an IBWO?
6. Is this a simple hoax?
7. Is this an elaborate hoax?

I really hope that this evidence isn't going to require a Ph.D. to analyze.

I was willing to believe a year and a half ago. I've learned to be more skeptical since then. I could still be convinced, but I need to see convincing evidence that is not considered subject to interpretation.

Time will tell.
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Old Monday 18th September 2006, 14:26   #6868
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theveeb
Here's a list of skeptical IBWO evidence questions I had posted earlier that I've updated based on previous comments. I think that the types of questions that are generally being discussed about a set of evidence can be used to rate the quality of the evidence. In increasing order of quality:

1. Is this a bird?
2. Is this a woodpecker?
3. Is this a Red-headed Woodpecker (RHWO), PIWO or IBWO?
4. Is this a PIWO or an IBWO?
5. Is this an aberrant PIWO or an IBWO?
6. Is this a simple hoax?
7. Is this an elaborate hoax?
I think you've left off a key question, or maybe you consider it inherent to the above questions: "Are the people making the claim credible and experienced?"

People who think IBWOs are extinct are essentially saying there is something NON-credible about the 7 Cornell sighters (not to mention, Kulivan, John Dennis, John Terres, and dozens of others) -- these people didn't say 'I think I might have seen an Ivory-bill,' they said 'I saw an Ivory-bill' -- you either believe them or consider them uncredible -- as I said in a previous blog post, really most of science comes down to this trust in those reporting -- I have no solid evidence whatsoever that Tanner ever studied IBWOs, only a trust in those who have reported Tanner's work, as credible, capable people who are not pulling an elaborate hoax.
The assumption should not be, as it has become, that NOBODY is credible without videotape to back them up; it should be that the claims of honest, intelligent, credible people are accurate, or at least probable, until shown otherwise. The Cornell evidence still stands, yet somehow because alternative explanations have been offered, Cornell's stance is to be rejected??? Somehow, we have it bass ackwards, and before it's all over a lot of professional people are going to have a lot of answering to do for themselves. It's no wonder that anti-evolutionists make such inroads when alternative explanations are automatically to be given such favoritism.
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Old Monday 18th September 2006, 15:06   #6869
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Originally Posted by cyberthrush
The Cornell evidence still stands, yet somehow because alternative explanations have been offered, Cornell's stance is to be rejected???
Their proof was noithing more then a hypothesis, as was shown in the published reaction to their Science paper. Their rebuttal was just too weak to take away the doubts of the skeptics.
Even the best observers can make dreadful errors in ID, so good video/photo back up is definitely required...
This is a scientific approach (although I wouldn't say it's science). It's been repeated over and over again... It's absolutely ridiculous to state that it's because "we need an alternative explanation"... good evidence (not all those blurs) would destroy an alternative explanation (and I'm still hoping for that to happen of course).
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Old Monday 18th September 2006, 15:48   #6870
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This is a presumed extinct bird. This is not an vagrant Sage Thrasher or an early/late Connecticut Warbler record. For a presumed extinct bird, I don't think a photo (without controversy) or video is too much to ask. But I'm willing to use good sightings to direct future work and even to delay large projects. But good sightings should result in good video/photos, and so far they haven't. This 'repeatability' is what is lacking. (and by repeatability I don't mean by the same observer, because frankly, if I don't know the person myself or if his/her reputation is untarnished, you just don't know who you are dealing with).
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Old Monday 18th September 2006, 16:15   #6871
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Originally Posted by IBWO_Agnostic
This is a presumed extinct bird. This is not an vagrant Sage Thrasher or an early/late Connecticut Warbler record. For a presumed extinct bird, I don't think a photo (without controversy) or video is too much to ask. But I'm willing to use good sightings to direct future work and even to delay large projects. But good sightings should result in good video/photos, and so far they haven't. This 'repeatability' is what is lacking. (and by repeatability I don't mean by the same observer, because frankly, if I don't know the person myself or if his/her reputation is untarnished, you just don't know who you are dealing with).
I just spent the weekend trying to photo a bird that is both common and easily seen on the Texas coast in September - the Buff-bellied Hummingbird. Despite many GOOD observations and several attempts to photograph the bird, I was unable to get easily identifiable photos, and so were a LOT of good photographers close by. Photographing a bird, especially in areas where vegetation is thick, is NOT easy. Add to that trying to do it from a canoe, in swamps, with a moving target, etc., etc., etc. and I can certainly understand why we are seeing what we are seeing.
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Old Monday 18th September 2006, 16:31   #6872
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Some people "presumed" IBWO to be extinct, but not everybody, not even Jerome Jackson.

I find it interesting (and revealing) that some people are prejudging the new evidence even though they haven't even seen it. You don't know that the new guys don't have photos or video. But let's assume they don't. If Sibley and Kaufman were in the lineup who saw the birds, but they didn't get photos, would the sightings be more credible?
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Old Monday 18th September 2006, 16:49   #6873
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Note this in my earlier message: "if I don't know the person myself or if his/her reputation is untarnished, you just don't know who you are dealing with"

Sibley and Kaufman have untarnished reputations. They admit to getting an ID wrong sometimes (Gallagher doesn't by the way). So if they came forward I would treat the sighting as pretty damn good. However, I'm going to guess that even they would say it should be officially unconfirmed. In fact I think I read somewhere that Sibley said if he came in from the field with an IBWO sighting that wasn't backed up by photos/video he would not expect everyone to believe it.
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Old Monday 18th September 2006, 17:04   #6874
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xenospiza
Their proof was noithing more then a hypothesis, as was shown in the published reaction to their Science paper. Their rebuttal was just too weak to take away the doubts of the skeptics.
Even the best observers can make dreadful errors in ID, so good video/photo back up is definitely required...
This is a scientific approach (although I wouldn't say it's science). It's been repeated over and over again... It's absolutely ridiculous to state that it's because "we need an alternative explanation"... good evidence (not all those blurs) would destroy an alternative explanation (and I'm still hoping for that to happen of course).
I think that is how science is supposed to work - hypothesis with evidence, alternative hypothesis, etc. (ad infinitem, like this thread ?). An alternative hypothesis does not disprove the original. In addition, I believe that the authors of rebuttal in Science focused on the video evidence (without new evidence, but with an alternative hypothesis); I don't recall that they offered an alternative hypothesis for the sight records.
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Old Monday 18th September 2006, 17:34   #6875
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Originally Posted by humminbird
I just spent the weekend trying to photo a bird that is both common and easily seen on the Texas coast in September - the Buff-bellied Hummingbird. Despite many GOOD observations and several attempts to photograph the bird, I was unable to get easily identifiable photos, and so were a LOT of good photographers close by. Photographing a bird, especially in areas where vegetation is thick, is NOT easy. Add to that trying to do it from a canoe, in swamps, with a moving target, etc., etc., etc. and I can certainly understand why we are seeing what we are seeing.
Then you probably didn't see it. In accordance with the standards of the BF Birding Police, there's no proof you saw it, and therefore we can dismiss your claimed observation out-of-hand. Even the presence of David Sibley might not have been sufficient, although he did write a couple of books (have you written a birding book, Mark?), which vaults him into the rarified status of Überexpert, and therefore his observation would have more credence than yours. The rule is simple: no photo, no sighting.

Last edited by Curtis Croulet : Monday 18th September 2006 at 17:37.
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