Ivory-billed Woodpecker: Debunking the Critics (8 Viewers)

jurek

Well-known member
I am not convinced by these sightings, but publishing them is good to avoid rumors in future.

Note, that bigger over-hype on this forum are repeated stretched splitting species or 'discovering new species' by splitting, which are somehow tolerated.
 

Hauksen

Forum member
Hi,

Does Mike's article actually address the topic of video artifacts? I pointed out this problem to him in a past discussion, but can't seem to find it in the recent article.

I was actually concerned about the in-camera image enhancement producing false edges of contrast, which would require a thorough look as we're dealing with "least-resolution" images here.

In the two LA videos, on different days, artifacts may influence key, some or most frames. The FL quality is so bad that you are more or less going by flight pattern (how it is unusual and does match literature) and the double knock heard in the earlier video from kayak. Also Collins "testimony" on the day.

Mike considers the video footage "raw" data, when in reality it's the output of algorithms used by the video camera's chipsets.

Trying to use contrast-based fieldmarks in low quality footage affected by contrast-enhancing algorithms is a difficult undertaking, and Mike's article hasn't addressed that.

Reliance on "flight pattern" analysis and audio evidence in an article claiming to be about "image processing" is a bit funny, but probably owed to the fact that image processing doesn't really help Mike's case.

Regards,

Henning
 

Mysticete

Well-known member
United States
I am not convinced by these sightings, but publishing them is good to avoid rumors in future.

Note, that bigger over-hype on this forum are repeated stretched splitting species or 'discovering new species' by splitting, which are somehow tolerated.

Yes Yes we get it you think that there is a massive conspiracy of biologists to split taxa to get more recognition, rather than considering that "species" are arbitrary constructs and that people may simply have other criteria.
 

Andy Adcock

Fractious Member of ill repute
England
Yes Yes we get it you think that there is a massive conspiracy of biologists to split taxa to get more recognition, rather than considering that "species" are arbitrary constructs and that people may simply have other criteria.

I think he has a point though ;)
 

Jacana

Will Jones
Hungary
Surely, this is pretty interesting. The linked article has been published in a scientific journal - one that gets the occasional flak for "a little too much leeway" given to the authors and a retracted article here and there, but still satisfying at least the basics of peer review, so this is not just someone talking out of their foot. However the confrontational tone of this post isn't exactly setting the best atmosphere for discussion - if he communicates this way habitually, then it's not a big wonder if people don't take him seriously and make bigfoot-related remarks.

It's worth noting the journal that it has been published in. Scientific Reports is (in)famous for the variation in the quality of its publications. There are undoubtedly good articles published in it, but more and more they are letting in some shockingly shoddy pieces of work. It's the unfortunate consequence of some of these more recent open access journals. There is a lot of pressure on editors and reviewers to accept articles that they might not always agree with. Why? Well author who get articles accepted pay about $1500 dollars for the privilege. It's the same with the Frontiers series of journals and some others. These online only journals don't have to worry about space, so they can keep on accepting as many articles as they like.

They're not in the same league as predatory journals, many of which have no review system at all. But they're becoming more and more of a grey area.
 

THE_FERN

Well-known member
I think he has a point though ;)

Reflects the usual positive results publishing bias doesn't it? (More likely to [be able to] publish something if you find evidence for a split.)

Have to say I don't always agree with the taxonomic suggestions from these studies: Gentoo penguin one seems dodgy, for example, but the info they present can shed some interesting light on (natural) history (apparent deep molecular divergence in this case)
 

THE_FERN

Well-known member
...Why? Well author who get articles accepted pay about $1500 dollars for the privilege...

Have things changed? Back in the day when I was actually publishing things, "page fees" of a similar magnitude were pretty standard whatever the journal.

I'm one of those who thinks academic publishing is a complete scandal and a real barrier to human progress. Not the least worst aspect being unpaid anonymous review system (I've acted as reviewer a couple of times). An amazing system which presumably relies on academic ego/sense of duty (delete as appropriate) to provide free labour to bouy profits of mega publishing corps. In return, they generously then restrict access to the results to only the rich or those paid by the taxpayer to do the studies in the first place. That or sci-hub...
 

Mysticete

Well-known member
United States
Reflects the usual positive results publishing bias doesn't it? (More likely to [be able to] publish something if you find evidence for a split.)

Have to say I don't always agree with the taxonomic suggestions from these studies: Gentoo penguin one seems dodgy, for example, but the info they present can shed some interesting light on (natural) history (apparent deep molecular divergence in this case)

Studies are still regularly published that either call for no significant changes in taxonomy at the species level, or suggest a certain complex is oversplit. It's just that birders tend to not talk about those, whether we talk about all of the studies that do suggest splits. Also a lot of folks more often read the press release and news stories associated with these papers, which sometimes can come to wildly misleading conclusions.
 

ZanderII

Well-known member
I think your tag line is never more appropriate than this - albeit that was clearly not the original intention! Although that said, belief, in the absence of evidence, is seemingly central to this unique case.

cheers, alan

It is all just a sad story of the end of hope. The original Science paper was rushed out with inadequate documentation as the story was about to be broken/scooped. Those involved clearly believed the sight records coupled with some poor documentation and assumed that they had refound the species and better documentation was forthcoming. I have a huge amount of respect for many of the ornithologists involved but even the best birders are fallible which is why unambiguous documentation is so important.

The rediscovery was itself so unlikely that it is far more likely that in the absence of evidence, sightings were mistakes on a collective wave of hope than for it to be rediscovered and poorly documented and to disappear again.

Sci Reports has extracted thousands of pounds from Mike which is shameful.
 
It is all just a sad story of the end of hope. The original Science paper was rushed out with inadequate documentation as the story was about to be broken/scooped. Those involved clearly believed the sight records coupled with some poor documentation and assumed that they had refound the species and better documentation was forthcoming. I have a huge amount of respect for many of the ornithologists involved but even the best birders are fallible which is why unambiguous documentation is so important.

The rediscovery was itself so unlikely that it is far more likely that in the absence of evidence, sightings were mistakes on a collective wave of hope than for it to be rediscovered and poorly documented and to disappear again.

Sci Reports has extracted thousands of pounds from Mike which is shameful.

The video, sound recordings, field notes, re-creations of sighting with models etc. supporting the AR sighting are very solid to support the modest abstract that one IB remained.

The several authors had good to extensive knowledge of the confusing species (field marks and sounds). In addition it is not a difficult ID. Mass hallucinations were mainly in the Vietnam era, at least in this country.

No ARU I am aware records double knocks and loud kents that do not exist. The AR RBC accepted the sighting as good; you can be assured it was. USFWS ditto. '

Soon after a highly esteemed team of scientists gathered great evidence of probable presence in FL. This in a long, riparian corridor of 70 miles, witha very nicely wooded, mature buffer, that has about 10 seasonal residences on it (small house boats).

16 years before the species (several birds) were still lingering in POOR HABITAT in Cuba.

In 2011 the analysis of the only Imperial Wood. film completely supported hundreds of thousands of peoples opinion that the Science paper was right.

I would like to read your written 2005-6 analysis of the evidence, if anything like that exists. This prior sentence infers that you may just be joining the crowd now like you did then (hopeful then as you relate, but now it is all a mistake). Its all a common human defense behavior, you probably didn't even know you were doing it. ;)

thanks
 

Jacana

Will Jones
Hungary
Have things changed? Back in the day when I was actually publishing things, "page fees" of a similar magnitude were pretty standard whatever the journal.

Thing have changed since the proliferation of online-only publications. Journals used to be space limited due to their print editions. Now, we are seeing a slow decline in overall quality as the business side of things trumps the scientific.

A colleague of mine who was an associate editor for one such journal asked me to be a reviewer for a manuscript. It was ok, but it had too many issues, so I recommended rejection with an opportunity to resubmit down the line. My colleague agreed, but we had our decision overturned by a higher-up employee of the journal. The authors papered over some of the worst issues in a less than satisfactory way and it got published.

Neither of us will review or edit for that journal again.
 

Hauksen

Forum member
Hi,

The video, sound recordings, field notes, re-creations of sighting with models etc. supporting the AR sighting are very solid to support the modest abstract that one IB remained.

It doesn't quite measure up to the tons of evidence supporting the continued existence of Nessie, though.

Seriously - if the evidence hasn't swayed scientific opinion on the Ivory-billed Woodpecker for a decade, the only way out of this is better evidence.

If there are 10,000 Pileated Woodpeckers in a study area, and 10 Ivory-billed ones, chances are 1000:1 that any random sighting of a "promising" woodpecker is an encounter with a Pileated one. If your chances are 99.9% to identify a woodpecker correctly, that means that on the average, in 1001 encounters, you'll ID 11 woodpeckers as "Ivory-billed" ... 10 of them actually Pileated ones.

If you encounter no Ivory-Billed Woodpeckers, you will, on the average, still identify 10 Pileated ones as "Ivory-Billed" in that scenario.

Thinking of an approach that might help Mike to ovecome the difficulties in locating the surviving Ivory-Billed Woodpeckers, I'd think that acoustic detectors might be a solution. Photo traps seem to work well for mammals, but I'd speculate that casting a net of recorders to find acoustic signatures might work better for birds.

Regards,

Henning
 

ZanderII

Well-known member
Thinking of an approach that might help Mike to ovecome the difficulties in locating the surviving Ivory-Billed Woodpeckers, I'd think that acoustic detectors might be a solution. Photo traps seem to work well for mammals, but I'd speculate that casting a net of recorders to find acoustic signatures might work better for birds.

The IBWO search team had both autonomous 'robo-birders' and recording units out in the field recording for years, contrary to suggestions upthread there are no incontrovertible audio recordings, faint possible recordings have been shown to have similar acoustic signatures to other sound sources.

I'll add that most of those initially involved have washed their hands of the story as a salutary lesson in evidence. You won't find a validated 21st century record of IBWO on the flagship citizen science initiative of the institution that broke the story.
 
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ZanderII

Well-known member
In addition it is not a difficult ID. Mass hallucinations were mainly in the Vietnam era, at least in this country.

Tens to hundreds of birders rushing to see a reported vagrant and leaving happy that it was that species is a common phenomenon worldwide. There are hundreds of instances where the bird they thought they were looking at was not that species and was another commoner or even rarer species.

Images can also be massively deceptive - this is one of the best examples - https://twitter.com/LeeEvansBirding/status/818222995718238209 that fooled the some of the best birders in the land including the super astute bird news people.
 
I'm sure there would be hundreds of birders in the USA that would be doing exactly that, and would be continuing to look for it if they thought there was any chance at all of it still existing. I'll leave it to them thanks :t:
You haven't thought very hard before pressing 'post', I hope. Perhaps "you being sure" of extinction like thousands preceding you selling truth serum is a bit premature. Caution is is in order after evidence came soon after the words "its gone" were firmly proclaimed. As their asses sank deeper into their comfortable armchairs, evidence/proof came from S FL 1920s, Singer 1932, Singer mid 40s, Central FL, 1967, Cuba 1987, Kulivan 1999 2 birds seen close for minutes, and many other lesser publicized but likely good sightings. Heavy, labored, breathing claiming to know the unknowable should wait at least until the vaccination arrives to cure your annoying wheeze.

It's prudent to recognize the twitch is in it's 16th year. With perhaps a hundred seeing a bird, a few hundred more hearing it and a few thousand trying and failing. Successful people had cameras; but the bird doesn't come to feeders, or lay exhausted at your feet, from crossing the big pond.

It's not surprising that effort and interest has lessened; the most tenacious early arrivers saw/heard the bird, others have moved on, some are waiting for a good chance. Lessened interest has many inputs and factors resulting in some drawing false conclusions of extinctions. The odds of these naysayers getting the extinction decade right for a species around for hundreds of thousands of years, over a few million acres is minimal.. Certainly there are only a few IBs left, unfortunately. But there have been post 2015 sightings. As search hours drop, observations have decreased. Conversely this admittingly does not indicate an increase in population. But it's not yet an excuse to jokingly gloat, assuming some reasonable streak exists by a birder or conservationist.

Searching for IBs without a known nest location and/or a gun has often failed; a successful search historically numbered in the days or weeks.. Failures in finding the bird by well staffed "expeditions" has occurred for a century. Tanner was led to nests and birds by the caretaker. One IB can range over 20 square miles of often extensive, bottomlands. They are likely trapline feeders, not visiting the same tree for weeks or ever. And not surprisingly the bird can recognize a group, person, etc. may be pursuing it and respond with increased wariness. The species has been hunted for centuries; the flush distance is about hundred times your last lifer. Read C. Hunter's monograph on the disappearance of IBs.

The Bayou De View, AR bird almost certainly came from more southerly haunts. This seemingly young male had moved into, and for several months frequented, a narrow corridor of riparian forest. The modest, linear strip of several miles was only 3/4 miles wide making a lone male with no known nest or mate periodically viewable.

thanks
 
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The IBWO search team had both autonomous 'robo-birders' and recording units out in the field recording for years, contrary to suggestions upthread there are no incontrovertible audio recordings, faint possible recordings have been shown to have similar acoustic signatures to other sound sources.

I'll add that most of those initially involved have washed their hands of the story as a salutary lesson in evidence. You won't find a validated 21st century record of IBWO on the flagship citizen science initiative of the institution that broke the story.

.

Too funny. In a prior post I asked if you had any circa 2005 notes or posts that doubted the IB Persists paper. I suspected you had no written comments/notes/posts and are a casual follower at best of the actual evidence and its meaning. I believe you accepted the sighting and evidence then and now are seeing the alleged light. I asked what are the weaknesses in the Science evidence listing the AR video and spectacular restored IMWO film as a primary nexus point.

You then avoid the pivotal AR video with plenty of data on a putative IB. You ignore the minute long Imperial film. You have either failed to view or grasp, it or purposely ignore the implications of the Imperial Woodpecker film. You exhibit political acumen, by obfuscating, but this is a scientific question. You do not ignore wing beat HZ and the only videos of the N clade of Campephilus spp.. PIWO and IBWO are not congenerics, their body weight, wing loading, wing shape, etc are so different its makes it impossible to have the same wing beat HZ. How many PIWOs have you seen flying?

Look at wing loading. Do you realize the IB weighs 1.8 times a PIWO but has ~ the same wing surface area. Which bird is likely to have the higher wing beat Hz?

Tobalske one of the world leaders in avian flight dynamics has made it clear that IBWO with IMWO vs PIWO are expected to have quite different flight mechanics. He directly commented on the Collin's underflight bird and said it was a large woodpecker with a very high Hz. The AR flyaway correlate perfectly in wing beat HZ with the LA bird and not PIWO. And as predicted, the IMWO turned out to be ~ 10% slower than IBWO but still higher than any known PIWO video. PIWOs have independently in via studies to always drop off quickly to 5-6 Hz by 3 secs after takeoff.

PIWO cannot fly as seen in all the pertinent videos of IB; its impossible. THERE ARE NO PIWO VIDEOS OF THE SEVERAL THOUSAND that match the subject IB videos.

In the AR video before the flight sequence there is a 20 inch tall bird clinging to a trunk, with a white Campephilus wing saddle. It doesn't get much easier. This is often missed, but the bird is there on a tree and then gone from the same tree soon after.

After totally skipping the video evidence you note a poor, vague, misleading paper on duck clap sounds, that tries to, but does not confuse even a small part of the IB data (assuming you know your field sounds/conditions and zoogeographic distribution of Anatidae in the US).. I have never heard any duck wing claps in IB habitat or any marsh. waterbody and besides there would also be other duck noises/vocals on the ARU. IB ARU were set up in forest where Gadwalls etc, are not found. Some ARU DKs do not match the duck wing bangs. DK evidence also included human detection of Camp-like DKs that came from different areas over short time periods where no Gadwalls were noted

Ducks were absent or scarce in the immediate AR area and are not common at all on the Choctaw of FL where many more DKs were recorded along with very good sightings. The DKs were recorded in dry forest and wet forest. Gadwalls are not found there. Wood Ducks are in both AR and FL but I see no data on that these small ducks produce these alleged wing clap sounds that ARs record like Camp. DKs. Regardless DKs were heard by many people and kents, including me, from DIFFERENT LOCATIONS within a 15 minute period . Ducks do not produce loud kents nor do nuthatches with the volume that IBs are capable of. DKs that I have heard in 7 countries do not sound like duck wing claps that I read about and have heard . Some ARU DKs were triangulated by human observers, they were Camp. like with strong volume, from forest where there are no Gadwalls or other ducks and were unlike any alleged duck clap sounds.

Many kents were also recorded in at least FL (a few maybe in LA, AR also).

Almost all field birders can distinguish a Camp. DK from duck wings. The opinion that the AR DK data should be thrown is not supported if every 2004-5 DK is carefully taken in field context and habitat context.

You avoid several written field note submittals, as mistakes, and a no mistake video of a flying bird,, and the same bird perched (a woodpecker) matching IB in all ways and settle on a misleading paper of duck claps. LOL

And hope you haven't invented this alleged original authors distancing themselves from the initial paper as their judgement on evidence quality. Can't wait to hear confirmation that you spoke to most of the 17 authors and initials of the enlightened ones .

Again, Too funny. thanks3:)
 
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birdmeister

Well-known member
United States
As a curiosity, 1TruthSeeker, when was the latest IBWO report, audio or visual? I had heard about the Cuba trip, but nothing much from the southern US swamps.
 

raymie

Well-known member
United States
If there are spot where the Ivory-bill is supposedly being seen, why are there no other birders rushing to these spots to confirm?
 
As a curiosity, 1TruthSeeker, when was the latest IBWO report, audio or visual? I had heard about the Cuba trip, but nothing much from the southern US swamps.
Hello BM, the latest sighting is only a few months old and was visual but was by a layman/beginner and written up with an emphasis on what a PIWO looks like w/o much on what was actually seen. On a scale of 1 to 10 on habitat, location, likelihood of being true, veracity of report I would go 4, 3, 1 and 2. Their have been burns over the last few years in area, which does make me curious.

I coudl find out more if you have a need to know.

tks
 
If there are spot where the Ivory-bill is supposedly being seen, why are there no other birders rushing to these spots to confirm?
Hello Raymie.....did you read my prior posts and in between the lines? There are few positive sighting recently due to less search effort and the bird's already small population could be dropping. But there are millions of acres of acceptable habitat, But in areas like LA much of the land is private so off limits.

The bird is uncanny like many wary animals in finding the most secluded spot (numerous small streams/bayous) in braided river bottoms to habituate. It can take hours to go a few miles and some areas can't be reached. It's also noisy to get in these area and an IB will hear/see you coming. Depending on season an IBs' daily caloric needs when not nesting can be satisfied in 30 m to an hour via my studies. I am wondering how much time it spends diurnally roosting or hiding in a cavity.

The few people on the few birds have gotten secretive with reason on where the hot spots are. Even if you get a location it is like chasing a moving needle in a hay stack.

The formal detection rate, with advanced survey methods requiring permits, on this species is low per square mile even if present. Its not terrible however if you can correctly cover 10 sq miles on consecutive days. Its is one of the wariness animals with a large home range per bird. If you make a mistake or cough at the wrong moment you may miss the only data point of the week. Todays bird is a very infrequent kenter and DKer. You need to have an acoustical survey footprint of at least 10 sq miles in top habitat to have ~ 50% chance of hearing al least one of the birds in the assumed pair if present and ~ 5% chance of seeing its ass end. It takes at least 6 hard, long field days to survey 10 sq miles.

Even aged stands of forest 50 to 80 years old can have no birds or at best one pair per 30 sq miles.

Even if found it will almost certainly be somewhere else the next day for the next birder. Birders already know this and are not rushing out unless the nuances of the location favor the searcher. As said there is only a fraction of searchers that would even announce their sighting publicly.

Hope that helps.

thanks
 
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