Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Florida Ivorybill synopsis

I originally posted this buried deep in the comments; here's a slightly extended version.

The debate about the Choctawhatchee Ivorybill reports was over an hour after it started. Once everyone had looked at the online articles, it was done. Each of our reactions to their results is 100% determined by the effects of the 18 months that have passed since the Arkansas announcement. Minds that were going to change, changed in that first hour, and aren't likely to shift from their new positions much until there is The Photo or another year without The Photo. If you thought anything but a photo is meaningless, you find the Florida results meaningless. If you think audio is valuable, you find the Florida audio valuable. If you thought the Arkansas audio was useless, you think the Florida audio is useless. And so on. The only place where there has been any shift is among those of us who put stronger credence in sight records. We are almost exclusively long-time serious birders; the exceptions are hunters or other sorts of field biologists. We see ourselves in the Florida team. We identify with them much more than with the Cornell Mega-Expedition. We find the Hicks field notes to be more detailed and convincing than the Arkansas field notes; hence we are more convinced. And of course those who find all sightings suspect consider us deluded idiots. This isn't gonna change, ever.


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