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Ivory-Billed Woodpecker continued (1 Viewer)

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RafaelMatias

Unknown member
Portugal
I remember reading several years ago (IIRC in British Birds 'News & Comment' section), there was an American university which was sending an expedition to a 'remote group of islands' where they thought Great Auks might have survived undetected . . . Orkney 🤪🤪🤪
Great Auk have learnt a difficult Ninja technique of hiding under stones at the minimum disturbance. That's where they spend winter too. It's basic Science really, the mortality was so massive that only the very best survived (bottleneck process), paving the way to this extremely well adapted new Great Auk. Don't be lazy and go there and check it by yourself, instead of sitting there on your comfortable couch.
 

Nutcracker

Stop Brexit!
Great Auk have learnt a difficult Ninja technique of hiding under stones at the minimum disturbance. That's where they spend winter too. It's basic Science really, the mortality was so massive that only the very best survived (bottleneck process), paving the way to this extremely well adapted new Great Auk. Don't be lazy and go there and check it by yourself, instead of sitting there on your comfortable couch.
Also, due to mortality being more significant among larger birds, only small ones survived; likewise, they also lost the conspicuous white spot on the head that makes them conspicuous in fog. The small ones that survived are so small they are able to fly, and now conceal themselves among Razorbill flocks, among which they are completely indistinguishable.
 

RafaelMatias

Unknown member
Portugal
Also, due to mortality being more significant among larger birds, only small ones survived; likewise, they also lost the conspicuous white spot on the head that makes them conspicuous in fog. The small ones that survived are so small they are able to fly, and now conceal themselves among Razorbill flocks, among which they are completely indistinguishable.
Makes perfect sense to me (y)
 

Rob_H

Well-known member
Thanks to John (OP) for taking the time to highlight the latest in the IBWO search. Whilst I believe the IBWO (both continental and Cuban) faded away with the almost total clear-felling of its home, I, like many, have always held a flicker of hope that the species made it through the narrowest of habitat bottlenecks. That optimism was, of course, spectacularly ignited by the Cornell declaration in the mid-noughties but all too quickly extinguished as the quest for irrefutable evidence did not decisively deliver in the ensuing years (despite a big $$$ bounty on its head).

The descent of those heady days into pseudoscience, pixel-peeping and bombastic cyber-sniping needs no reminder. The odds could not have been higher: the diversion of scarce conservation dollars and political hubris. But hope and sweat and ever deeper analysis of circumstantial evidence produced precisely the square root of zero. The ensuing volumes on the search, especially Gallagher’s The Grail Bird, were, however, enjoyable reads.

The secondary regeneration of the southern forests may give hope (false or otherwise) to some that the habitat is getting better with every passing year. That the majority is held in private hands further tantalises at the possibility of hidden populations, despite the failure of the post-Cornell search effort. But if the DNA of this mighty woodpecker is indeed lost from those forests then it is just a poignant reminder of the fragility of ecosystems. What once was is no more; what is lost cannot be replaced.

The parallels with Bigfootery are as true as they are false. IBWO is/was a documented living organism, whereas the evidence for the existence of Sasquatch has always fallen short of scientific classification. Bigfoot exists on the edge of reality, a cultural phenomenon akin to a dog chasing it tail evidence-wise. As a child, I enjoyed those 1970s Bigfoot documentaries, a time when the world seemed to still have unexplored corners where fantastic creatures really could exist, hairy proof just a matter of time. Interest in the subject should not be equated with belief.

A few brave academics, notably the late Dr Grover Krantz and Prof Jeff Meldrum, applied the scientific method to unclassified/relict hominoids. Their works are well worth a read on the art of distilling and rejecting pseudoscience and its proponents. Krantz’s ire for the distractions of what he calls the ‘lunatic fringe’ is palpable in his writing. The analysis, interpretation and discussion of data contained within the Luneau video (purported IBWO) and the Patterson-Gimlin footage (purported female Bigfoot) - the Zapruder films of their respective fields – is as much an exploration of the human condition as it is the quest for truth. Replace the switchblade with the Luneau video in the film 12 Angry Men.

If the IBWO did indeed survive the apocalyptic logging of its primordial home, and is still with us, then it’s a lot more adaptable than the literature suggests (and doing perfectly fine). Whilst rumours of the IBWO demise may have been greatly exaggerated, the evidence bar could not be set higher. For those that see the evidence for persistence sufficiently compelling to continue active searching then I wish you the best of luck. Although I do not subscribe to the species as a whole changing personality under hunting pressure accounting for lack of improved photographic evidence, I do not underestimate the difficulty of the terrain having peered into it in Florida. Nor do I underestimate my own ignorance in the analysis of the evidence.
 

ZanderII

Well-known member
The parallels with Bigfootery are as true as they are false. IBWO is/was a documented living organism, whereas the evidence for the existence of Sasquatch has always fallen short of scientific classification.
Thylacine is a better example:

 

motiheal

Well-known member
Given your posts toward me (and others) have had a hint of rudeness, forgive me if I do not care whether you respond further or not.

A word of advice: If you want to ‘convert’ people to your thinking or belief, insulting their intelligence or (at least on Birdforum) criticising their birdwatching abilities is not the way to do it. Providing clear photographic or video evidence will win you far more ‘believers’.

Good day 👍
Go back and read the exchanges and look for the first hint of non-professionalism. I am not looking to convert anyone. I just posted "next-gen" type ideas. All it takes is one person to read what I wrote, see the seriousness of the study, and perhaps apply some of the ideas. Then it's worth it.
Provide data for these factoids then, otherwise these are merely beliefs.
In my first post it states who to read.
 

jurek

Well-known member
Ironically, I think it is a very good idea for people to document their unsuccessful IBWO searches and bring them together in a central place online. This prevents next IBWO searchers from following leads which were checked and found empty.

Suspicious observations attract attention, but checking them and finding nothing is considered uninteresting. So things debunked several times can still be talked about. Often, newcomers few years later are not aware they were debunked, and waste time again.
 

motiheal

Well-known member
So, the IBOW is extant but it’s because I am an ‘amateur’ the evidence fails to impress me? 🙄

So just to clarify - (re. Larry’s comments too above), not only are US birders are rubbish but UK birders need some kind of professional forensic qualification to interpret the ‘evidence’?
This BTW was where you were way too forward. Nothing I posted before this was as provocative. So, I simply asked you, what's your level of experience with the IBWO?
 

motiheal

Well-known member
Ironically, I think it is a very good idea for people to document their unsuccessful IBWO searches and bring them together in a central place online. This prevents next IBWO searchers from following leads which were checked and found empty.

Suspicious observations attract attention, but checking them and finding nothing is considered uninteresting. So things debunked several times can still be talked about. Often, newcomers few years later are not aware they were debunked, and waste time again.
Absolutely right, and part of the reason for my first post, to clarify what I believe, after study, to be better methodologies to get close to the bird. For example, walking probably won't.
 

Deb Burhinus

Used to be well known! 😎
Europe
So, I simply asked you, what's your level of experience with the IBWO?
None. I have no experience actually, of any birds MIA presumed extinct by the early decades of the last Century. You made a not so subtle dig that an ‘amateur’ opinion lacked validity in the debate (when you responded to my earlier question regarding ‘secret’ evidence as well as previously suggesting the US birdwatching community (of which my cousins can be counted a part of btw) lack basic birdwatching skills (to which Larry responded) hence my response earlier.

You demanding yet again what my experience is with this probably extinct bird, (presumably to shut down my participation in this thread), above anybody else’s experience here on BF is beginning to feel like mysogyny because I can’t for the life of me see why you would expect a higher bar of ’experience’ of IBOW from me than any other person here that is commenting. Like (probably) everyone else here, I have followed the various threads for many years, watched videos and listened to recordings that searchers and ‘existers’ have posted and linked to. I don’t need ‘experience’ of the IBOW, to say I have yet to see a recent convincing photo or video of one.

BTW, not that it should matter in the absence of having any real tangible evidence in the form of either clear photos or clear unattested video to examine, I do have a/ a Law background (so can spot when the strategy is to undermine the credibility of the opposing party b/ a background in Conservation and Environmental Policy (so am capable of understanding a little of consequential threats to breeding productivity, survival rates and increased migratory risks from habitat loss/hunting preassure and CC. A working knowledge of population dynamics, MVP and the classification of species at risk of extinction. c/ 30 odd years of birding and survey work (including in the States) and a reasonable level of ability to analyse photographic examples (not necessarily particularly clear ones either!) of birds species with some degree of accuracy as to the species I am looking at.

Not that it should matter ...

I don’t believe the IBOW is extant but will be the first to encourage you to keep looking if you feel compelled to do so and the first to congratulate you if your search culminates in irrefutable evidence of the species survival. In the meantime, accept that you are dealing with a highly sceptical audience here.
 
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Farnboro John

Well-known member
I've been following the threads on BF for years and have noticed in addition to other points made, a number of attempts to pull the wool over the eyes of readers with Trumpian fake news. My dad used to be an expert at the sort of foot-shifting during an argument that involved changing the point of attack (in extreme cases he was quite capable of switching completely round, in order to be right). Exactly the same as the switch involved in trying to argue that a bird honed by a million years of evolution has suddenly changed its habitat preferences, behaviour and breeding biology. I could spot it in my youth and I can spot it now. Its not credible.

To have a record at all requires seeing the bird at some point because all the other evidence (sounds for instance) are capable of duplication by other agencies. As an experienced wildlife photographer as well as a birder of 40 years experience I can state unequivocally that with modern equipment (by which I mean digital era), if a bird this size is in view even at over 100 yards for a matter of seconds any decent birder/photographer already looking for the species will get at least a record shot - that is, a picture on which the bird is clear and the identification features are visible. This applies even back-end on flying away.

Get one. Submit the original RAW for analysis by photographic experts, and after that woodpecker experts. Not interested in any of the specious arguments being deployed at the moment.

John
 
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Hauksen

Forum member
Hi,

"The more you read about IBWO evidence (Collins, Mark Michaels, Cornell, Auburn with Geoff Hill, Dan Mennill acoustic data, Bobby Harrison, Tim Gallagher, Martjan Lammartink, people involved in the Cuban efforts, sorry if I am leaving anyone else out), the more you believe."

The more I read about IBWO "evidence", the more disappointed I am that Collins has been dodging this point for well over a year now:


Of course it's inconvenient to have one's "evidence" challenged, but where's that as evidently justified as in this case, it's rather unprofessional not to rise to the challenge.

Regards,

Henning
 

jurek

Well-known member
Take care to document other bird sightings. Since you are going to spend time in the field looking for a probably non-existing bird, make sure that at least some good comes from it.

Another thing, you could use ebird to find areas not yet covered by other birders, who would discover the IBWO if it would be there.

You might also, completely personally, set upfront an amount of effort after which you would decide there is no IBWO and move elsewhere. Makes the whole quest much healthier - one will not be clutching to a failed matter.
 
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Bird_Bill

Well-known member
Since the mid 1940's, only one flight feather belonging to our ghost bird has been found.

All the secondaries and many of the primaries are uniquely unlike anything else in North America

What is not being seen is rather compelling in the argument.

Conclusive photographs and/or witnessed sightings sustained by hard physical remains is needed
 

ZanderII

Well-known member
Since the mid 1940's, only one flight feather belonging to our ghost bird has been found.

All the secondaries and many of the primaries are uniquely unlike anything else in North America

What is not being seen is rather compelling in the argument.

Conclusive photographs and/or witnessed sightings sustained by hard physical remains is needed

Indeed, shed feathers or a whole whole dead bird, spend enough time in the woods and you will find them, or more likely an active nest - a feat which took the Singer Tract team 3 days.
 

ZanderII

Well-known member
Absolutely right, and part of the reason for my first post, to clarify what I believe, after study, to be better methodologies to get close to the bird. For example, walking probably won't.
Better methodologies to come:

Thermal cameras - huge amounts of scope for unidentifiable images here.

Surveying on a unicycle - wobbly shots ahoy!

Climbing into suspect tree cavities and waiting, maybe take the thermal but leave the unicycle outside.
 

Sangahyando

Well-known member
So, I simply asked you, what's your level of experience with the IBWO?
What's yours? Speaking of which, does anyone on this forum have sufficient proof of having observed this species in the wild? How many people who've actually seen the IBWO are still alive today? I imagine the number is trending towards zero, if it isn't already there.
 

Larry Sweetland

Formerly 'Larry Wheatland'
What's yours? Speaking of which, does anyone on this forum have sufficient proof of having observed this species in the wild? How many people who've actually seen the IBWO are still alive today? I imagine the number is trending towards zero, if it isn't already there.
There will presumably be some living people who have seen it in Cuba, though possibly (?) no BFers.
 
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