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new paper on the Ivory-billed Woodpecker (1 Viewer)

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Paul Longland

Well-known member
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.

I think there is as much chance as a great Auk turning in the Orkneys
 

Ruff

Two birds in one.
Upon assuming power in 1959, Fidel Castro’s government began to implement an aggressive national reforestation program. In large measure this program responded to a grave national concern given the country’s deforestation trend.

From the time of discovery to 1959, the total amount of land area forested in Cuba had declined from 72 percent to 14 percent. As a result of the reforestation program initiated in 1959, by 1992, according to official estimates, the amount of land area forested had increased to 18.2 percent of the national territory. This 30 percent increase was achieved partly through better management of timber harvesting rates but principally through reforestation. Of the total area forested in 1992, natural forests accounted for 84 percent, or two million hectares. Two-thirds (67.6 percent) of national forests were set aside as protected areas, while one-third (32.4 percent) was used for timber production. Between 1959 and 1992, the net annual addition in forested land area approached 14,000 hectares.

By 2016 the forest cover had reached 30.6%

Happy to help with regard to your lazy assumption regarding Cuba.

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.
 

Larry Sweetland

Formerly 'Larry Wheatland'
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.

Well, IBW lasted longer in Cuba than it did in the USA!
 

KenM

Well-known member
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''. ;)
 

Gordon

Registered User
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.
 

dthor68

Member
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.
 

fishcrow

Well-known member
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.
 

fishcrow

Well-known member
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.
 

fishcrow

Well-known member
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.
 

fishcrow

Well-known member
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.
 

fishcrow

Well-known member
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.
 

fishcrow

Well-known member
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.
 

fishcrow

Well-known member
Pileated Woodpeckers match IBWO for flap rate.

https://bmcbiol.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1741-7007-5-8

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.
 

fishcrow

Well-known member
I was hoping to participate in intelligent discussions among birders who are interested in conservation. It was a waste of time.
 

etudiant

Registered User
Supporter
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.
 

fishcrow

Well-known member
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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ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia

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