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new paper on the Ivory-billed Woodpecker

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Old Friday 30th August 2019, 14:54   #26
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If one did turn up the islands would have to be officially renamed the Aukneys

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Old Friday 30th August 2019, 17:00   #27
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Just a ''general'' comment regarding the provenance of claims concerning any seasonally scarce/local birds (certainly not presumed rightly, or wrongly, relic populations of unlikely Rares), ....but more about the ''mindset'' of birders in the field collectively when claims are made of the former.

Last week I was birding at a reserve area (Sauvie Island, Portland USA), I had been ''struggling'' hunting passerines albeit without much success in climax tree cover by the waters edge.

Thus in desperation I started to ''pish'' which eventually produced some Black-capped Chickadees, followed by Bewick's Wren, Downy Woodpecker and a Black-throated Gray Warbler etc.

Eventually we bumped into some (presumed) local seasoned birders of my generation, where we exchanged the days events, swopping their waders with our passerines.

After mentioning B.T.Gray Warbler, their was an immediate ''really'' on their part, with the tone seemingly less than complimentary, thus I offered to show them the taken images.

Upon seeing the proof there was an immediate ''where exactly did you see it...and you pished them out?'' elicited in an almost controlled excited manner.

I certainly wasn't aware of BTGray being scarce, having seen them occasionally on previous visits (perhaps a trifle early for site...pass...?).

My point being that it seems to me that a large ''minority?'' of birders have a less than ambivalent response to ''Warblers for e.g. that refuse to sit on the end of their respective scopes''......presumably they end up being committee fodder?

One thing for sure!....IBW would need to be backed up by good images/film and if possible a corpse alive or otherwise, to appease ''the non-believers''.
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Old Friday 30th August 2019, 17:27   #28
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Whatever you say, all hail the visible benefits of international socialism as seen in all the socialist countries, especially of course Venezuela and Cuba, but a forestry program was the last thing ivory bills needed; they were exclusively birds of untouched old growth forest. I also had the uncharitable thought that a large bird like that would be too tempting a supplemental food item to survive long in a socialist country, but I have no evidence that actually happened.
My, you're so gracious. Can't just accept that your assumption about a country was just wrong but have to come back back with a sarky comment and additional cliches.
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Old Saturday 31st August 2019, 14:30   #29
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Whatever you say, all hail the visible benefits of international socialism as seen in all the socialist countries, especially of course Venezuela and Cuba, but a forestry program was the last thing ivory bills needed; they were exclusively birds of untouched old growth forest. I also had the uncharitable thought that a large bird like that would be too tempting a supplemental food item to survive long in a socialist country, but I have no evidence that actually happened.
I thought Canada was socialist? Oh, that has got to sting. Well the Passenger Pigeon sure was delicious to the capitalist of the USA.

But anyway, I think we would be better off trying to save what we have left rather than putting more effort into something that is gone. When I was young every farmland fence post in SC had an Eastern Meadowlark perched on it. Where did they go? If it takes 60 years to double the population there is a good chance that we are going to have mass extinctions soon. Let's worry about that.
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Old Saturday 31st August 2019, 20:17   #30
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Fair point, but actually they are even closer in size than I thought, with Pileated butting up to minimum IBWO and overlap in wingspan. Simple physics (always a better guide to aerodynamics than statistics) tells you the performance is going to be as similar.
This is nonsense. If anyone is interested in the facts regarding this issue (and others), they are covered in my papers.
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Old Saturday 31st August 2019, 20:30   #31
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Would love to be proved wrong but simply cannot see how such a large sized bird could remain "undetected" for so long. Yes I know its habitat is inhospitable and its a huge area to cover, but with the amount of people that have actively been searching over the years the odds are not in favour.
Maybe you would see if you read the paper, which contains an entire section on this issue. You mention only a few of the factors that contribute to the difficulty of detecting the Ivory-billed Woodpecker. I would advise anyone who is interested in conservation to study the information that has been laid out in the literature.
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Old Saturday 31st August 2019, 20:49   #32
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Hi Mike,

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Maybe you would see if you read the paper
Maybe you could provide a direct link to make it more accessible? I checked your page, but couldn't figure out what you might consider the key article.

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Old Saturday 31st August 2019, 21:02   #33
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Birds fly funny sometimes. Any birder will tell you that. It catches us out every now and again. You need more than "it flew funny so it must have been the extinct one" to get the people who know how to find and identify birds (birders) looking for Ivory-billed Woodpeckers again I'm afraid.
This is nonsense. If anyone is interested in the facts regarding avian flight mechanics, excellent sources would be the papers by Pennycuick, Tobalske, Taylor, Nudds, and Thomas that are cited in my papers. John James Audubon described the flight of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker as "graceful in the extreme." As that account would suggest, this bird has amazing flights. No flights appear in the brief film from 1935, but several types of flight appear in the videos that I obtained, and they are all fascinating. If anyone is interested in the flights of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker, I suggest that you consult my papers.
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Old Saturday 31st August 2019, 21:09   #34
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Hi Mike,



Maybe you could provide a direct link to make it more accessible? I checked your page, but couldn't figure out what you might consider the key article.

Regards,

Henning
This is the most recent paper, which contains: (1) quantitative arguments for why the existing evidence cannot be explained in terms of any species other than the Ivory-billed Woodpecker; (2) an analysis based on habitats and behaviors that sheds light on why nobody has managed to obtain ideal evidence in recent decades; and (3) a discussion of events dating back several decades that helps to document a persistent pattern of folly and politics that has undermined the conservation of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker.
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Old Saturday 31st August 2019, 21:49   #35
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One thing for sure!....IBW would need to be backed up by good images/film and if possible a corpse alive or otherwise, to appease ''the non-believers''.
Scientists establish facts all the time using various types of data. As discussed in Sec. 5 of my latest paper, it is unlikely that anyone will obtain ideal data due to a "perfect storm" combination of factors related to habitat and behavior. The analysis in that section is consistent with the following set of facts (which is unique to this species): (1) it has been feared extinct only to be rediscovered several times during the past hundred years; (2) nobody has ever managed to obtain a clear photo without knowing the location of a nest; (3) clear photos were obtained at the last known nests in the 1930s, but only a few photos of poor quality were obtained away from the nest during that study; (4) during the past several decades, many sightings have been reported but nobody has managed to obtain a clear photo; (5) in recent years, ornithologists were unable to obtain a clear photo during intensive multi-year searches at sites where they were convinced these birds were present; and (6) it is a species of great interest that resides in a region that is easily accessible to a large number of bird watchers. If we were talking about a more typical species with a history of being easy to document, it would be reasonable to conclude that the species is extinct, but that's not what we're dealing with.
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Old Saturday 31st August 2019, 23:12   #36
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Wow, nothing “probabilistic” about that statement! Do you know the “truth” about everything or just Ivory-billed Woodpeckers?
Have you never identified a bird in the field with 100% certainty? I have no doubts about any of my ten sightings of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker. I would never claim to know the truth about everything, but knowledge comes from direct experience and research. For those reasons, I know a great deal about the Ivory-billed Woodpecker.
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Old Saturday 31st August 2019, 23:21   #37
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Pileated Woodpeckers match IBWO for flap rate.

https://bmcbiol.biomedcentral.com/ar.../1741-7007-5-8

Enjoy. It's like I said: all you have to show is that there is overlap in performance and you can't then rely on performance as an ID character.

John
By mentioning that paper, you have demonstrated that you have no idea what you are talking about. The bird in the 2008 video was in cruising flight, which is the only type of avian flight that is amenable to statistical analysis. That paper discusses Pileated Woodpeckers that were flushed into escape flights.
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Old Saturday 31st August 2019, 23:56   #38
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I was hoping to participate in intelligent discussions among birders who are interested in conservation. It was a waste of time.
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Old Sunday 1st September 2019, 00:04   #39
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Have you never identified a bird in the field with 100% certainty? I have no doubts about any of my ten sightings of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker. I would never claim to know the truth about everything, but knowledge comes from direct experience and research. For those reasons, I know a great deal about the Ivory-billed Woodpecker.
You may be quite right, but any claim that is made needs to be verified independently.
The current phrase 'picture or it didn't happen' is a reasonable threshold for this aspect of observational biology imho.
Imaging technology is really cheap today, so it should be possible to get more definitive visual evidence than what is presented thus far.
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Old Sunday 1st September 2019, 00:31   #40
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You may be quite right, but any claim that is made needs to be verified independently.
The current phrase 'picture or it didn't happen' is a reasonable threshold for this aspect of observational biology imho.
Imaging technology is really cheap today, so it should be possible to get more definitive visual evidence than what is presented thus far.
What do you know about the evidence that has been presented so far? Three of my sightings are verified by video footage that shows flights, other behaviors, body proportions, and field marks that are consistent with the Ivory-billed Woodpecker but no other species. I challenge you to attempt to refute that evidence. But please do your homework. I'm not going to waste my time trying to have a discussion with someone who doesn't make an attempt to learn the basic facts.

Those who have dedicated years of field work to this species are well aware of imaging technology. I was one of the first to invest in a high-def camera in searching for this bird. One of my videos was obtained with a high-def camera, but it was an encounter with a distant pair of birds. In a similar situation the day before, another searcher made the mistake of trying to approach them, and he came away with nothing after spooking the birds. I stayed put, the encounter lasted for more than 20 minutes, and I obtained the only existing video footage of an Ivory-billed Woodpecker giving a double knock and the amazing flights that inspired Audubon's account, "the flight of this bird is graceful in the extreme."

Your comment about getting photos reveals a lack of understanding of this species. I suggest that you enlighten yourself by reading Sec. 5 of my latest paper.
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Old Sunday 1st September 2019, 07:04   #41
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What do you know about the evidence that has been presented so far? Three of my sightings are verified by video footage that shows flights, other behaviors, body proportions, and field marks that are consistent with the Ivory-billed Woodpecker but no other species. I challenge you to attempt to refute that evidence. But please do your homework. I'm not going to waste my time trying to have a discussion with someone who doesn't make an attempt to learn the basic facts.

Those who have dedicated years of field work to this species are well aware of imaging technology. I was one of the first to invest in a high-def camera in searching for this bird. One of my videos was obtained with a high-def camera, but it was an encounter with a distant pair of birds. In a similar situation the day before, another searcher made the mistake of trying to approach them, and he came away with nothing after spooking the birds. I stayed put, the encounter lasted for more than 20 minutes, and I obtained the only existing video footage of an Ivory-billed Woodpecker giving a double knock and the amazing flights that inspired Audubon's account, "the flight of this bird is graceful in the extreme."

Your comment about getting photos reveals a lack of understanding of this species. I suggest that you enlighten yourself by reading Sec. 5 of my latest paper.
Link the videos here. Then we can all see what you are on about.

John
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Old Sunday 1st September 2019, 08:34   #42
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Is the 2006 video online anywhere?
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Old Sunday 1st September 2019, 08:54   #43
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With a large, well searched for, species like IBW a recorded image is required and i would like to see some links to substantiate the claims. The papers linked are fine but without visual backup it’s just academic waffle imho and still ‘habeus corpus’.....

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Old Sunday 1st September 2019, 10:45   #44
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Hi Mike,

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This is the most recent paper, which contains: (1) quantitative arguments for why the existing evidence cannot be explained in terms of any species other than the Ivory-billed Woodpecker
Thanks a lot for the link!

Tobalske's 1996 data set on the Pileated Woodpecker consisted of merely 11 observed flights on a single location, and as far as I can tell, he makes no claims to having covered the full range of the Pileated Woodpecker's flight capabilities with this set.

So all you can really conclude from that is that the bird in the video under discussion did not behave like the Pileated Woodpecker(s) observed by Tobalske.

Since Tobalske apparently assessed and commented on the video, I can't imagine he would have missed the opportunity to point out that the Pileated Woodpecker could be ruled out based on the recorded flap rate.

Is the full text of his assessment accessible online?

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Old Sunday 1st September 2019, 10:52   #45
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This seems to show ‘the best of the sequences available’. The article also comments ‘most of the excerpts show distant blurs that only vaguely resemble birds’:

https://www.audubon.org/news/possibl...inction-debate

Would still be interesting to see all the videos and hear all the recordings.

Fascinating stuff. I’ll limit myself to suggesting that the paper is remarkable.
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Old Sunday 1st September 2019, 11:56   #46
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It's regrettable for all concerned - including the OP - that all the videos and stills I've seen in the twenty minutes I've given this thread are DREADFUL, UTTERLY DREADFUL. I've seen better pictures of Bigfoot!
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Old Sunday 1st September 2019, 12:46   #47
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It's regrettable for all concerned - including the OP - that all the videos and stills I've seen in the twenty minutes I've given this thread are DREADFUL, UTTERLY DREADFUL. I've seen better pictures of Bigfoot!
You and me both...

The trouble is that the Ivory-billed Woodpecker has stopped being a subject of scientific investigation and become an object of faith. The world is divided into believers and the rest, and if one questions a believer objectively then "burn the heretic" rhetoric and aggressive language erupts immediately.

There is no evidence that will stand the remotest smidgeon of scrutiny. Therefore nobody can write a decent paper: you can't make bricks without straw.

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Old Sunday 1st September 2019, 12:58   #48
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Hi Mike,



Thanks a lot for the link!

Tobalske's 1996 data set on the Pileated Woodpecker consisted of merely 11 observed flights on a single location, and as far as I can tell, he makes no claims to having covered the full range of the Pileated Woodpecker's flight capabilities with this set.

So all you can really conclude from that is that the bird in the video under discussion did not behave like the Pileated Woodpecker(s) observed by Tobalske.

Since Tobalske apparently assessed and commented on the video, I can't imagine he would have missed the opportunity to point out that the Pileated Woodpecker could be ruled out based on the recorded flap rate.

Is the full text of his assessment accessible online?

Regards,

Henning
Tobalske didn't claim to cover the full range of the Pileated's flight range. His flap rate statistics are for cruising flight, which is the only type of flight that is known to be amenable to statistical analysis. His paper is available here. His statistics for the Pileated are based on data obtained from five locations and 121 total flap cycles. I have obtained my own data on the Pileated and consulted with an expert in the applications of statistics, who regards the sampling as adequate and my data to be consistent with Tobalske's. It would be fairly easy for anyone to check Tobalske's statistics for this fairly common and widespread species. Tobalske concluded that the bird in the video is a large woodpecker. Only two large woodpeckers occur north of the Rio Grande, but the flap rate is about ten standard deviations greater than the mean flap rate of the Pileated. It follows from those facts that the Ivory-billed is the only remaining possibility, and the high flight speed, narrow wings, swept-back appearance of the wings, and prominent white patches on the wings are consistent with the Ivory-billed but not the Pileated. Observations that are supported by data matter to scientists, and the video documents that I had an ideal vantage point from close range and directly above for observing the definitive dorsal field marks. I saw the white stripes on the back, the black leading edges on the dorsal surfaces of the wings, and the white trailing edges on the dorsal surfaces of the wings.

I totally agree that Tobalske missed an opportunity. How often does a scientist get an opportunity to apply an approach that he developed to help resolve an issue that was featured on the cover of Science? Tobalske initially agreed to publish a paper with me, but he suddenly backed out, perhaps after sensing the considerable heat surrounding this issue. Tobalske's comments on the paper appear in my papers, and there is a discussion of the politics in the latest paper. All of this is discussed in this lecture. Think I'm exaggerating about the politics? Then go to p. 889 of the August 17, 2007, issue of Science, where John Fitzpatrick is quoted as saying, "Nobody else had the balls to do it." That is a remarkable quote to appear in a science journal, and it comes from arguably the most eminent ornithologist in the world, but it succinctly sums it up. I agree with Fitzpatrick about the politics, but I don't feel that one should need courage to stand up to it. If anything, such nonsense makes me more determined. As discussed in my latest paper and in the lecture, folly has also had an impact on this issue. In my opinion, the first step that is needed in the interest of this species is to put an end to the folly and politics that have undermined this issue for decades.
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Old Sunday 1st September 2019, 13:04   #49
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It's regrettable for all concerned - including the OP - that all the videos and stills I've seen in the twenty minutes I've given this thread are DREADFUL, UTTERLY DREADFUL. I've seen better pictures of Bigfoot!
For those who understand that questions can often be answered by analyzing data that isn't a pretty picture, I suggest that you study the videos, each of which contains stronger evidence for the persistence of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker than anything else that has been obtained during the past several decades. This data has been studied by several independent experts. The comments of two of them appear in my papers. The editor of the journal that published an analysis of all the videos in 2017 made a public statement that the paper had been reviewed and recommended for publication by ornithologists.
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Old Sunday 1st September 2019, 13:13   #50
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This seems to show ‘the best of the sequences available’. The article also comments ‘most of the excerpts show distant blurs that only vaguely resemble birds’:

https://www.audubon.org/news/possibl...inction-debate

Would still be interesting to see all the videos and hear all the recordings.

Fascinating stuff. I’ll limit myself to suggesting that the paper is remarkable.
The link that you provided shows only one of numerous events that appear in the videos. It is not necessary to have clear video footage to resolve characteristics such as flight path, wing motion, flap rate, flight speed, behaviors, body proportions, and partial field marks. All of the characteristics discussed in the analysis of the videos are unquestionable resolved in the videos. All of the events in the videos may be studied in movies in the supplementary material of the second and third papers listed near the top of the page here. If you click on Playlists at the top of the page, there are lectures on the videos.

I will be traveling for the next few weeks and might not be able to respond to questions for a while.
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