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Ivory-billed Woodpecker (formerly updates) (1 Viewer)

dafi

Well-known member
I an a total newcomer to this thread but have dived in to it here and there finding it both funny and entrenched on both sides of the devide. The one thing i cant seem to find is the physical evidence. is there any at all? Can anybody put us on to a photo of the woodie or an athenticated audio recording ? Pardon my naievity im just curious to find out if its out there.
 

emupilot

Well-known member
dafi said:
I an a total newcomer to this thread but have dived in to it here and there finding it both funny and entrenched on both sides of the devide. The one thing i cant seem to find is the physical evidence. is there any at all? Can anybody put us on to a photo of the woodie or an athenticated audio recording ? Pardon my naievity im just curious to find out if its out there.

There is disputed photo/video, many recordings of calls and double-knocks which sound like Ivory-billed Woodpeckers, and a dozen or so people who have reported seeing them on the order of 30 times altogether. As you can tell from the thread, there is obviously no physical evidence broadly accepted as definitive.
 

salar53

Well-known member
Curious

dafi said:
I an a total newcomer to this thread but have dived in to it here and there finding it both funny and entrenched on both sides of the devide. The one thing i cant seem to find is the physical evidence. is there any at all? Can anybody put us on to a photo of the woodie or an athenticated audio recording ? Pardon my naievity im just curious to find out if its out there.

I'm also curious, Dafi, and so are countless others. Perhaps this will give you a flavour of what is happening day on day.
Just recently, in fact the closing date was 12th March, someone on Ebay called JK1bic was attempting to sell a recent photograph of what he claimed to be a "rare juvenile Ivory-billed Woodpecker". I wrote off for further information -as you do - and got the following reply.

Wow! Ireland, huh? That would make inspecting the photo prior to purchasing a bit difficult but I would imagine we could have worked something out--I just don't know what. If the photographer's reserve had been met and the photograph was accepted by the winning bidder, than all rights would go with the photograph. Yes, the photographer realized what he was taking a picture of--that was the 3rd time he had seen the bird. Don't want to release any info about the reserve until or unless the photographer chooses not to re-list. Thanks for taking the time to ask a few questions.

And there you have it - another little puzzle in this fascinating litany of mysteries.
 

Russ Jones

Well-known member
salar53 said:
I'm also curious, Dafi, and so are countless others. Perhaps this will give you a flavour of what is happening day on day.
Just recently, in fact the closing date was 12th March, someone on Ebay called JK1bic was attempting to sell a recent photograph of what he claimed to be a "rare juvenile Ivory-billed Woodpecker". I wrote off for further information -as you do - and got the following reply.

Wow! Ireland, huh? That would make inspecting the photo prior to purchasing a bit difficult but I would imagine we could have worked something out--I just don't know what. If the photographer's reserve had been met and the photograph was accepted by the winning bidder, than all rights would go with the photograph. Yes, the photographer realized what he was taking a picture of--that was the 3rd time he had seen the bird. Don't want to release any info about the reserve until or unless the photographer chooses not to re-list. Thanks for taking the time to ask a few questions.

And there you have it - another little puzzle in this fascinating litany of mysteries.

This is obviously a scam. Isn't there a reward for a definitive photo? Somewhere in the order of $10,000 I believe it was.

Russ
 

Rediscovered

lazy lurker
Russ Jones said:
This is obviously a scam. Isn't there a reward for a definitive photo? Somewhere in the order of $10,000 I believe it was.

Russ

Here: http://www.nature.org/ivorybill/news/news2026.html
Only an Arkansas find is eligible, though, which I didn't realise when I told the seller about the reward. I think Cyberthrush is onto something; there'll be a post soon from an IBWO in a hole, who will be happy to pose for a photo if we all put $100 in his Swiss account first. Of course he's in Arkansas and breeding, which will make us all eligible for the reward. He just needs that $100 first, so people, give generously.
 

timeshadowed

Time is a Shadow
Russ Jones said:
This is obviously a scam. Isn't there a reward for a definitive photo? Somewhere in the order of $10,000 I believe it was.

Russ

I believe that the $10,000 reward was only offered if the bird were found in ARK and had strings attached - nest site must be located in ARK and revealed to ARK Wildlife Service, etc.
 

Ilya Maclean

charlatan
cyberthrush said:
well no, personal belief, no matter how strong is not 'proof' to the scientific community (I suspect we all have things we absolutely believe, but know we can't prove scientifically) -- in this specific case, Hill was well aware that without the current standard of photographic evidence he couldn't call his findings proven even though he and team members ARE 100% convinced (especially after watching what Cornell has gone thru). I may believe humans likely evolved on this Earth and there's a lot of evidence for it, but I would never claim I could prove that either.

it's just the difference between feeling free to speak one's mind in a book for the masses versus using more rigorous academic language for a much narrower audience; nothing peculiar in that I don't believe. The famous Watson/Crick paper is a masterpiece (I think) of succinct scientific writing, but James Watson's popular book "The Double Helix" was written in a very different style.

I like to see all possible evidence put forth as backup to their case, but no, by itself I'm not a huge fan of audio evidence, foraging sign, or any other evidence other than sightings from credible observers (under some circumstances DNA might be useful, but that too gets tricky). In fact I'm waiting to hear back from Geoff right now about a small audio question that's troubling to me (nothing major, just irksome).

I tend to agree, but it does concern me that there is such a disparity. think the primary reason for the greatly diverging conclusions of his paper and book has a lot more to do with peer-review than intended audience. I can say what he likes in a book, but scientific papers are subject to a rigorous peer-review process where statements generally need to be backed up with evidence.

To illustrate this point, consider his estimate of 10 pairs. Any avian ecologist or reasonably logical person could deduce that this is nothing but a wild guess. I haven’t read the book, but I presume (do correct me if I’m wrong) the estimate is based on the a handful of sightings (which range from unlikely to plausible - no means of verifying whether the same birds are involved), audio recordings, scalings and cavities (many of which are likely not to be of IBWOS and in any case would not provide a population estimate). He has not carried out any systematic sampling (point-counts, line-transects, mark-release-recapture, territory mapping etc. etc.). Lets not forget that whether the population is in excess of zero is still disputed by a large section of the scientific and birding community.

Whilst he is entitled to present anything he likes in a book (there are after all great works of fiction), I think it’s irresponsible for a scientist to present guesses as estimates, likelihoods as fact and so forth and don’t believe it helps his cause. Whilst I personally believe the IBWO to be extinct I am certainly open to the possibility that it is not. What makes me a sceptic above all else is the consistent way in which the case for IBWO persistence has been exaggerated. Unlikely sightings are presented as promising (fleeting views from a moving vehicle by a non-birder) and promising sightings are presented as definitive evidence (Cornell, Cinclodes and now Hill). If evidence can be presented in such a way, one tends to question whether the actual evidence itself has been similar exaggerated. If someone is capable of presenting a blurry low-resolution image as definitive proof, one has to question whether their accounts of sightings are indeed as clear-cut as they would like us to believe.
 
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Imaginos

Well-known member
This debate has long mirrored the climate change debate in the amount of non-science being paraded as evidence & also the insultingly braying tone of some sceptics. It seems to me that the scientific training of many people on both sides of the pond is not up to scratch by any means...But there you go.

Still no reply to my suggestion-could this elusive beast be nocturnal?

This would explain a great many things-brief, fleeting glimpses during the day, lack of views good enough to photograph & inconclusive audio data, all this is occuring during the day people could be out at the wrong time...
 

Mike Johnston

Well-known member
Was looking over the reported sightings in Florida this season and thought a summary of what has been reported might be of interest:

Nov. 2006

Jeff Barna - Flew overhead at treetop level at sunset. Silhouette only. Large woodpecker. Long wings, thin neck, long wedge-shaped tail. Straight, stiff-winged flight.

Dec.

Bob Anderson 1 - No details
Bob Anderson 2 - Flew from ground or low perch 25m away. Broad band of white on trailing edge of wing of a large black woodpecker. Stiff-winged flight and heard loud wing flaps as it flew away.
Unknown - No details
Tyler Hicks - Brief view (a millisecond - 2 secs) from 40ft. in rain. Perched, profile. Pale bill, black crest, one dorsal stripe, white on wings. Flew off and saw broad white trailing edge covering the secondaries and innermost primaries of the dorsal wing surface. In flight, it had a long pointed tail and a long neck like a pintail duck.

Jan. 2007

Unknown 1 - Possible. 2 birds. No field marks noted.
Unknown 2 - Possible. 2 birds. No field marks noted. Different from above sighting.
Unknown 3 - Possible. 2 birds. No field marks noted. Different from above sightings.
Mike Collins reported seeing a possible pair. Could be one of the above.

Feb.

Unknown - Brief view. Large woodpecker flying through forest. Appeared to have a black stripe down the centre of a white underwing.
 
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MMinNY

Well-known member
I'd encourage you to read the book before judging. I'm about halfway through it. He's certainly building a case, but he's doing it in a very even-handed and methodical way. He expresses considerable sympathy for the skeptical point of view and is not afraid to criticize Cornell, et al. His arguments about the circumstantial evidence (cavities and feeding sign) are considerably more detailed and nuanced than your characterization would suggest, and he provides criteria for distinguishing between PIWO and IBWO cavities and feeding sign that appear (at first glance) to be well-supported by the available information on both species.

His conclusion that six or more pairs are present in the Choctawhatchee does seem quite bold and is presented with great confidence (I jumped ahead to read it); it may indeed be inflated, but I take it as a statement of personal conviction based on his experience in the area (an area which, he argues quite convincingly, has been almost completely overlooked by birders). I don't think there's anything wrong with that, and it's certainly not a compelling reason to reject the rest of what seems, thus far, to be a very carefully constructed case. I'll be interested to see how he gets there.

Still don't know why amazon.com informed me that the release of the book would be delayed by two months and then was able to ship it two weeks after the announced pub date.



Ilya Maclean said:
I tend to agree, but it does concern me that there is such a disparity. think the primary reason for the greatly diverging conclusions of his paper and book has a lot more to do with peer-review than intended audience. I can say what he likes in a book, but scientific papers are subject to a rigorous peer-review process where statements generally need to be backed up with evidence.

To illustrate this point, consider his estimate of 10 pairs. Any avian ecologist or reasonably logical person could deduce that this is nothing but a wild guess. I haven’t read the book, but I presume (do correct me if I’m wrong) the estimate is based on the a handful of sightings (which range from unlikely to plausible - no means of verifying whether the same birds are involved), audio recordings, scalings and cavities (many of which are likely not to be of IBWOS and in any case would not provide a population estimate). He has not carried out any systematic sampling (point-counts, line-transects, mark-release-recapture, territory mapping etc. etc.). Lets not forget that whether the population is in excess of zero is still disputed by a large section of the scientific and birding community.

Whilst he is entitled to present anything he likes in a book (there are after all great works of fiction), I think it’s irresponsible for a scientist to present guesses as estimates, likelihoods as fact and so forth and don’t believe it helps his cause. Whilst I personally believe the IBWO to be extinct I am certainly open to the possibility that it is not. What makes me a sceptic above all else is the consistent way in which the case for IBWO persistence has been exaggerated. Unlikely sightings are presented as promising (fleeting views from a moving vehicle by a non-birder) and promising sightings are presented as definitive evidence (Cornell, Cinclodes and now Hill). If evidence can be presented in such a way, one tends to question whether the actual evidence itself has been similar exaggerated. If someone is capable of presenting a blurry low-resolution image as definitive proof, one has to question whether their accounts of sightings are indeed as clear-cut as they would like us to believe.
 

IBWO_Agnostic

Well-known member
When will any of the major players in this saga have the guts to say this:
"A" cavities, foraging signs, kent calls, and double knocks can all be made by other species besides Ivory-billed Woodpeckers. While we like to see big holes, stripped tight bark, and like to hear kents (maybe by jays) and double knocks we cannot use these pieces of evidence to estimate population size or presence of Ivory-billed Woodpeckers.
 

cyberthrush

Well-known member
IBWO_Agnostic said:
When will any of the major players in this saga have the guts to say this:
"A" cavities, foraging signs, kent calls, and double knocks can all be made by other species besides Ivory-billed Woodpeckers. While we like to see big holes, stripped tight bark, and like to hear kents (maybe by jays) and double knocks we cannot use these pieces of evidence to estimate population size or presence of Ivory-billed Woodpeckers.

I think most of the 'major players' have at some point alluded to this, but it doesn't take away the need to study and sort out such signs and evidence (and report it). Moreover, if one is claiming sightings for an area, one certainly hopes that such signs can indeed be found in that area -- the TOTAL lack of such would further cast doubt on sightings.
Finally, what is also being done in some instances, and is important, is to look for the prevalence of such signs in areas having IBWO claims versus areas with no such claims.
 

MMinNY

Well-known member
Actually, I think Hill would contend that certain types of bark stripping are inconsistent with PIWO bill structure.

But again, I suggest you read the book before commenting. If you have, I apologize, but your statement suggests that you have not.



IBWO_Agnostic said:
When will any of the major players in this saga have the guts to say this:
"A" cavities, foraging signs, kent calls, and double knocks can all be made by other species besides Ivory-billed Woodpeckers. While we like to see big holes, stripped tight bark, and like to hear kents (maybe by jays) and double knocks we cannot use these pieces of evidence to estimate population size or presence of Ivory-billed Woodpeckers.
 

IBWO_Agnostic

Well-known member
I've seen the info about measuring bark adhesion with the fish scale, measuring in the Choctaw and comparing it to areas around Auburn. But they have no data from KNOWN IBWO scaled trees. Without that, it's not that robust an analysis.
 

emupilot

Well-known member
IBWO_Agnostic said:
When will any of the major players in this saga have the guts to say this:
"A" cavities, foraging signs, kent calls, and double knocks can all be made by other species besides Ivory-billed Woodpeckers. While we like to see big holes, stripped tight bark, and like to hear kents (maybe by jays) and double knocks we cannot use these pieces of evidence to estimate population size or presence of Ivory-billed Woodpeckers.

Hill notes in his paper
Sounds that resemble Ivory-billed Woodpecker kent calls are produced by Red-breasted Nuthatches (Sitta canadensis), White-breasted Nuthatches (Sitta carolinensis), gray squirrels (Sciurus carolinensis), and Blue Jays (Cyanocitta cristata) (Jackson 2002, Tanner 1942), and may also be produced by Great Blue Herons (Ardea herodias) (R. Charif, pers. comm.).

Hill continues to say why none of these produced his recorded kent calls and double-knocks. Scientifically, he can't say the sources were made by Ivory-bills, but neither can he say that they could have been something else as other known sources were eliminated. The calls can not (yet) be used for scientific surveys, as they are not yet scientifically proven to be from Ivory-billed Woodpeckers.

Since as far as Hill is concerned, Ivory-bills definitely exist and are the likely source of the calls, the calls can be used for his own estimates where Ivory-bills occur and (under favorable conditions) how many there are. While such an estimate may not currently meet the requirements of science, they may do so retroactively if the calls are at some point scientifically linked to the Ivory-billed Woodpecker.
 

choupique1

Well-known member
timeshadowed said:
I believe that the $10,000 reward was only offered if the bird were found in ARK and had strings attached - nest site must be located in ARK and revealed to ARK Wildlife Service, etc.


a good duck spot or deer spot.. is worth significantly more than 10k
 

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