Monday, September 10, 2007

Whither the Woodpeckers?

For those of you who might be wondering where all the woodpecker chatter went...

Opinions about the Ivorybill situation long ago progressed from firm to ossified, and have now reached a state of fossilization. There is little to be accomplished by continued reiteration of all the old points, other than the further alienation of the larger birding community (who as a whole are fatigued and saddened by the angry rancor from all sides). There has been nothing in the last few months that has altered my opinions and conclusions about any of it; the same is true for virtually everyone else involved, which is the point. If there's ever anything really new I might address it here; on the other hand I may well start following Sibley's lead and leave discussion to the mainstream and peer-reviewed literature, rather than the blogosphere.

I realize that the release of the Choc videos is sort of "new." Though they are only newly released to the public, they have been circulated privately to a good variety of people for many months. I was invited to view them in confidence earlier this year, and was more than happy to give them a thorough looking over and evaluation. I relayed my opinions and judgements about them to the Hill et al group and to the USFWS. I have no desire at all to get involved in another public round of electronic shouting about them and what they do and do not show. Without even glimpsing at the blogs and forums, I suspect I could tell you almost verbatim what most of the major players have said about them, ranging from "bollocking stringy nonsense" to "it couldn't possibly be anything but an IBWO, in fact I think it is three different individuals."

A point to keep in mind: The infamous Patterson-Gimlin Bigfoot film is still being discussed and subjected to reanalysis, even within scholarly circles, 40 years after it was shot!


At 1:52 PM, Blogger cyberthrush said...

The one other thing that IS really new Bill is the Draft Recovery Plan -- NEVER before have so many agencies/individuals cooperated to put forth a somewhat comprehensive plan for finding/saving this species; previously, just 60 yrs. worth of mostly piecemeal efforts following certain sightings.
You're right that discussing the plan in the blogosphere is hopeless, but in fairness to those who put in a lot of work compiling it, just think it deserves a nod of recognition.

At 1:33 PM, Blogger Tupelo Gum said...

Bill, if you had to bet the farm on whether or not there is at least one living ivory-billed woodpecker in this world, how would you bet?

Yea or nay?

At 4:27 PM, Blogger salar53 said...

Hello Tupelo,
Didn't someone address the same question to one of Dr Hill's searchers?
I'll confess to not much liking the very honest answer.

At 7:55 AM, Blogger Bill Pulliam said...

Hey folks, to quote myself: "There is little to be accomplished by continued reiteration of all the old points." The same holds true for impossible (and meaningless) odds estimations. This isn't Schrödinger's Woodpecker; whether it is presently extinct or extant is not a function of our personal opinions.

If you want to know what I think, put this text in a google search window and you'll have plenty to read:

ivory OR ivorybill OR ibwo


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