• BirdForum is the net's largest birding community dedicated to wild birds and birding, and is absolutely FREE!

    Register for an account to take part in lively discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.

Ivory-billed Woodpecker: Debunking the Critics (1 Viewer)

Status
Not open for further replies.

1TruthSeeker

Well-known member
Thanks for that! Kind of as I feared, though it sounds like it's an extremely tough bird to come across anyway.

I'm not sure there are any left, as I would really love to see a clearer picture or video.

BM how come u have absolved yourself from getting the clear picture?

Many people say what you have said. What are you going to do after you see someone elses clear picture ?

thanks
 

1TruthSeeker

Well-known member
Hi,



Sorry, I don't read acronymese.

You seem to be very familiar with the specifics of Mike's work. Were you involved in his fieldwork, I wonder?

Regards,

Henning

This was already answered in the first few sentences of a prior post. The thread is only a few pages.

thanks
 

Hauksen

Forum member
Hi,
This was already answered in the first few sentences of a prior post. The thread is only a few pages.
You wrote "I know Collin's evidence contemporaneously as it was gathered", which leaves room for Interpretation - that's why I am asking.

So what does this mean?

Regards,

Henning
 

cajanuma

Well-known member
You wrote "I know Collin's evidence contemporaneously as it was gathered", which leaves room for Interpretation - that's why I am asking.

So what does this mean?
I think it means that 1TruthSeeker lacks the ability to express himself clearly in English, as much of his drivel shows.

I appreciate the efforts by Zander, Hauksen and others to bring some sanity to this thread.
 

Hauksen

Forum member
Hi,

This was already answered in the first few sentences of a prior post. The thread is only a few pages.

You wrote "I know Collin's evidence contemporaneously as it was gathered", which leaves room for Interpretation - that's why I am asking.

So what does this mean?

Thank you for you Personal Message, even if it was a refusal to clarify.

So let me ask you directly here: Are you Mike Collins?

Terribly sorry I have to ask, but your prompt appearance here after Mike's initial post, and the inspired defense of Mike's findings, look just like what I'd describe as a possible Sock-Puppet sighting.

Regards,

Henning
 

Hauksen

Forum member
Hi,

Most of this is dealt with here too in much more detail by the world expert in the species:


Thank you very much, that's a very good read, and the first well-structured account of the search for the Ivory-billed Woodpecker I've come across.

In my opinion, the hypothesis that the possible "Ivory-billed Woodpecker" sightinings are actually aberrant Pileated Woodpeckers sounds quite reasonable. At the very least, it's impossible to rule this out with the existing material - proving the point that the visual evidence so far is inconclusive.

Regards,

Henning
 

ZanderII

Well-known member
Someone please tell this "expert" :rolleyes:that the confusing species is the White -breasted Nuthatch not the Red-breasted as he states . The Red-breasted nuthatch is not even a sympatric breeder with the IB even if it sounded like it !!

Its understandable his knowledge of IB is limited but the Red-breasted is a fairly common feeder bird in the USA and Canada....and he worked at Cornell.

Auburn University and Windsor U. personnel recorded multiple IB kent calls, see their paper and website circa 2006 about substantial Ivory-billed evidence. Many people ticked off the IB there. It's was a memorable month when I heard IB kents, IB DKs and a Red-breasted Nuthatch (not there) later in the same month.

Even dogs are said to dream so there is hope for some , at least on the nuthatches .
RBNU occurs widely in syntopy in winter across the former range of IBWO, the fact that it is scarce makes it more likely that it will be the cause of misidentification as 'searchers' and 'truth-seekers' are evidently unaware that the species is present
 

ZanderII

Well-known member
Patudo,


Much has happened in the last few and 8 decades.

Best to get away from the old acre to modern acre comparison as far as total acres involved. Todays forests have greatly changed for the worse in many ways; I will not cover much here. Ecological changes and fire regimes need to be paramount in understanding IBs. Also alarming is metapopulation gene flow is now minimal but can be improved. The IB is very vagile.

First up, thanks to the moderator for deleting your speculation that I'm either 'mentally ill' or an 'a-hole' and for deleting the personal attacks on others. They don't help your cause.

Second, can you stop bandying around scientific terminology in vain. There is no evidence for 'metapopulation structure' in large primary forest-dependent birds, nor is their evidence that such species are vagile, nor is there any evidence that there is any population genetic structure - i.e. 'clades' in continental Ivory-billed Woodpecker (IBWO) populations. Your use of these terms might impress some folks but you just come across as a chancer to anyone who understands the terminology.

In an attempt to deconstruct the whole story, the best available evidence for the persistence of IBWO in continental North America is:

"a de-interlaced, zoomedin, and cropped portion of a poor-quality four-second video captured fortuitously on 25 April 2004 by David Luneau, an engineering professor from Arkansas, of a bird as it flew from behind a tree and away from the camera into the woods along Bayou de View on Cache River NWR, Monroe County"

There is no other objective evidence that hasn't been widely dismissed.

So the null hypothesis (H0) is that the Lunnea video is a normal Pileated Woodpecker (PIWO), a hypothesis favoured by many people.

The competing hypothesis (H1) is that the Lunnea video is the sole verifiable piece of image documentation of a hitherto-thought extinct species.

For H0 to be true we need to make no assumptions, the confusion species is common at the locality and one would expect that if you take enough bad videos then eventually one might look like an extinct species.

For H1 to be true we need a lot of assumptions:

Assumption 1. IBWO has persisted in Arkansas undocumented for around 100 years.

Assumption 2. IBWO has adapted to using a habitat type - logged and degraded forests and not the old growth forests which it was assumed to be dependent on.

Assumption 3. IBWO has changed its behaviour and ecology to become impossibly difficult to detect even with 22,000 hours searching for the bird between February 2004 and the announcement in April 2005.

On Assumption 1 and 2, this is ably deconstructed in Jackson 2006:

There are many reasons why eastern Arkansas seems an unlikely place for Ivory-billed Woodpeckers to have survived undetected for nearly 100 years. (1) Except for small stands and individual trees, the virgin forests of eastern Arkansas were cut by the early 20th century. (2) Small stands of remaining virgin forest and second-growth forest along the lower White River were protected as White River Waterfowl Refuge in 1935, and wildlife biologists and foresters have worked in the field there ever since without any reports of Ivory-billed Woodpeckers. (3) James Tanner spent eight days on the White River Waterfowl Refuge (now NWR) in 1938 and found “no indications of the birds still being there.” He noted that “there are a few virgin tracts of sweet gum and oak timber but too small and scattered to make really good Ivory-bill territory” (Tanner 1942:25). (4) Ornithologist Brooke Meanley (1972) lived near and worked on the refuge for five years (1950-1955) and returned to the area frequently until 1970. He also visited the bottomland forests along the Cache River, noting the size of the baldcypresses (Taxodium distichum). Meanley was specifically aware of the possibility of Ivory-billed Woodpeckers in the region and was “always on the lookout” for them (Meanly 1972:52), yet he found no evidence of the birds. (5) For many decades, White River NWR has been used as a study area by researchers from several universities, resulting in numerous graduate theses and dissertations. (6) White River NWR is heavily used for hunting and fishing by the public each year. (7) By the early 1950s, birding had become popular in the mid-South, and White River NWR is frequently visited by birders and birding groups. Since 1939, there have been 48 Christmas Bird Counts centered at White River NWR. In 1994, the Arkansas Audubon Society initiated a breeding bird atlas project for the state (Arkansas Breeding Bird Survey; see Acknowledgments) that would include some of the forest habitat (K. G. Smith pers. comm.). (8) Although the forests near the mouth of the Arkansas and White rivers were prominently mentioned for their Ivory-billed Woodpeckers by John James Audubon (Audubon and Chevalier 1840-1844), the heart of Ivory-billed Woodpecker range and density seems to have been farther to the south, perhaps because of better food availability and more rapidly growing trees.

On 3, the Snyder monograph - reviewed here might be true, maybe hunting was more important as a decline driver but it doesn't mean that the species has entirely changed its ecology - there was no evidence of this with the last few individuals in the early 20th century which were still readily located:

Are we really dealing with a species that has become reclusive and silent within the past century, as some have suggested? I do not think so. While game animals often become wary as a result of hunting pressure, I know of no evidence that suggests anything more than individual wariness as a result of negative interaction with humans. I believe that the integrity of the social system of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker, as evidenced by numerous historical reports of movement in pairs and family groups, vocal chatter, and exchange of double raps, would remain if the species has survived.

Moreover if as you state IBWO is thinly distributed across the southern USA and especially if the species were 'vagile' then we would expect to encounter dispersing juveniles away from optimal habitat, one would eventually show-up and be 'twitchable' somewhere accessible.

If you add up all the assumptions then H1 is very tenuous and hinging on a 4-second blurry video which many have dismissed out of hand as a PIWO. H0 is attractive as it requires no assumptions.
 
Last edited:

ZanderII

Well-known member
Hi,



Thank you very much, that's a very good read, and the first well-structured account of the search for the Ivory-billed Woodpecker I've come across.

In my opinion, the hypothesis that the possible "Ivory-billed Woodpecker" sightinings are actually aberrant Pileated Woodpeckers sounds quite reasonable. At the very least, it's impossible to rule this out with the existing material - proving the point that the visual evidence so far is inconclusive.

Regards,

Henning
Indeed, its is a great review:

Sound bites must not pass as science, and science demands more than mere observation for documentation of extraordinary records. Scientific truth is not decided by a consensus of public opinion, but by the quality of data presented and rigorous independent review of those data.
 

Hauksen

Forum member
Hi,

First up, thanks for deleting your speculation that I'm either 'mentally ill' or an 'a-hole'. Maybe tone your attacks on everyone else too. They don't help your cause.

The edit comment below that post ist, "Last edited by a moderator: Today at 9:20 AM", so I'd also like to thank the moderation team.

Regards,

Henning
 

ZanderII

Well-known member
Hi,



The edit comment below that post ist, "Last edited by a moderator: Today at 9:20 AM", so I'd also like to thank the moderation team.

Regards,

Henning
Yep, I just noticed that and edited my text accordingly. Thanks mods. They also deleted his awful reply to cajanuma in its entirety, although I have a screen grab for posterity.
 

birdmeister

Well-known member
United States
BM how come u have absolved yourself from getting the clear picture?

Many people say what you have said. What are you going to do after you see someone elses clear picture ?

thanks
Well, I'm a resident of Pennsylvania, and one who really doesn't drive long distances to see rare birds in general. I would rather try and focus efforts on saving species closer to home that are still frequently observed but quickly declining, e.g. Common Nighthawk, Cerulean Warbler, etc.

If a clear piece of photographic or video evidence showed up, I probably wouldn't travel to see an IBWO anyway.
 

Larry Sweetland

Formerly 'Larry Wheatland'
It seems to me that those who are convinced by the evidence I've seen put forward so far, may well have a background in science or biology, but I'd be very surprised if they're serious birders. Birders spend most of their time when they're outdoors obsessed with identifying every bird that catches their eye, and have done so for years on end. Birders know how easy it is to be fooled by inadequate views of birds and by less than clear photos and videos. Birders know how oddly birds can behave from time to time, including what they sound like and how they fly. No matter how much scientific analysis and other mumbo jumbo you throw at such sightings and evidence, any half-decent birder will know that it's easy to be fooled from time to time. Thankfully some birders are scientists too. Some of the dismissive attitude of 'IBWO believers' to 'non scientist' birders pointing this out, simply shows they don't understand birders at all, and therefore are less likely to understand the reality of how easy it is to misidentify something.

I've mentioned this because until you know the bird is extant, it's irrelevant whether or not the habitat or space exists for IBWO to possibly be present, until the first step is made. An IBWO has to be identified. So it's not expert scientists you need, it's purely and simply people who understand how to identify birds that are important here. And that's what's being missed.
 
Last edited:

ZanderII

Well-known member
It seems to me that those who are convinced by the evidence I've seen put forward so far, may well have a background in science or biology, but I'd be very surprised if they're serious birders. Birders spend most of their time when they're outdoors obsessed with identifying every bird that catches their eye, and have done so for years on end. Birders know how easy it is to be fooled by inadequate views of birds and by less than clear photos and videos. Birders know how oddly birds can behave from time to time, including what they sound like and how they fly. No matter how much scientific analysis and other mumbo jumbo you throw at such sightings and evidence, any half-decent birder will know that it's easy to be fooled from time to time. Thankfully some birders are scientists too. Some of the dismissive attitude of 'IBWO believers' to 'non scientist' birders pointing this out, simply shows they don't understand birders at all, and therefore are less likely to understand the reality of how easy it is to misidentify something.

I've mentioned this because until you know the bird is extant, it's irrelevant whether or not the habitat or space exists for IBWO to possibly be present, until the first step is made. An IBWO has to be identified. So it's not expert scientists you need, it's purely and simply people who understand how to identify birds that are important here. And that's what's being missed.

Totally agree, part of the mindset is that the searchers get to places that 'regular' birders often don't, which is true. But the birds themselves cannot solely reside there and must also occur in more accessibly areas, absolutely so if the inferred dispersal occurs. They also try and nourish the idea that these southern forests are remote - yet the rediscovery location is actually a strip of bottomland forest scarcely 3 miles wide bordered by soybean fields.

The problem is enhanced by searchers devising ever more ingenious ways of obtaining ambiguous images which they can de-interlace and process.
 

Attachments

  • Capture.JPG
    Capture.JPG
    99.9 KB · Views: 40

YuShan

Well-known member
Wait what? What is the point of the paddle?
I guess to be able to instantly point the camera at a bird when paddling. You don't want to first put the paddle down, then reach for your camera, switch it on, focus, etc. So have the camera on the paddle, pre-focussed at 50m and camera continuously running, so the IBWO won't be missed if spotted. I like this setup :)
 

opisska

Jan Ebr
Poland
Oh they are travelling by boat, then it makes sense. The photo has made me think that this is just some contrived gadget to be used while walking - as there is no boat in the picture :)
 

Sangahyando

Well-known member
Some of the dismissive attitude of 'IBWO believers' to 'non scientist' birders pointing this out, simply shows they don't understand birders at all, and therefore are less likely to understand the reality of how easy it is to misidentify something.
Good point.


I've mentioned this because until you know the bird is extant, it's irrelevant whether or not the habitat or space exists for IBWO to possibly be present, until the first step is made. An IBWO has to be identified. So it's not expert scientists you need, it's purely and simply people who understand how to identify birds that are important here. And that's what's being missed.
Well, you will need the scientists once DNA samples or other solid evidence has been obtained. Speaking of which, where are the DNA samples? It's not even like you'd have to trap or shoot the birds - if a species is extant, there should be some feathers or excrement lying around, or even carcasses left by predators of the species.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

Users who are viewing this thread

Top