As I said, there IS good reason to look for Ivory-bills...saying I'm not
curious is, with respect, incorrect, and I apologize for giving that
But for saying that the species IS extant requires a degree of proof that
obviously varies from person to person, and for some of us it is higher than
it is for others, as also applies to Bigfoots and UFOs etc.
For example, as an artist used to looking at bird patterns I'd be reluctant
to say that videos (all that I have seen being very blurry) show white where
it should not be in a Pileated. I've seen crows with white where it should
not be, but by gosh, it's there anyway.
With regard the sounds, the kent call and the double-knock, in my opinion
they warrant investigation, and were I in the right habitat and heard such
sounds you can be sure that I would drop everything (well, no, not my camera
or binoculars) to investigate. I would be IMMENSELY curious. But I would
not say that they prove the bird is there as other sources of these sounds
cannot, I believe, be fully ruled out.
As to the Ivory-bill being a species that "has/had a low detection rate even
when we all agree that it was extant" yes, but that did not prevent
excellent photos, even though using equipment far inferior to what is
currently available, from being taken, nor has it prevented similar levels
of proof for other species also difficult to find in very difficult habitats
in the tropics.
As to the large number of sightings...I agree...just as I agree that there
are large numbers of sightings of UFOs, a point I really do think is
relevant. While I am not saying that Ivory-billed Woodpeckers (or alien
spacecraft) don't exist, I do find it increasingly difficult to understand
why, then, there are still no photos or other proofs of the standard I
directed you to.
I know people who are willing to believe a virgin gave birth to a child two
thousand years ago, based on ancient writings that greatly predate
understanding of reproductive biology we now take for granted, and that's
fine for them...their standard of proof is very different from mine. It
does not make them wrong or me right, or vice versa...but I think it is fair
to at least say that for some of us true belief depends on a level of proof
not yet provided the Ivory-bill. Such proof could occur, of course, at any
time, and to repeat, we (well, you...I'm in the wrong place) should keep
looking. If I am ever in the right place, I will too, but meanwhile, I am
in the camp of those who are waiting for more proof before accepting as fact
what I devoutly hope to be true, that the species still exists.
Hello Barry, have to get off this chat account and get to mine, but briefly
1) I used the phrase---- do you have any data to SUPPORT the extinction
hypothesis for IBWO.
Support not prove. Most us of know you cannot prove extinction yet its
brought up repeatedly by one camp as an excuse for their lack of data.
It's an inappropriate, weak and convenient, self serving excuse for
skeptics to shoot from their armchairs in Canada, the United Kingdom, ME,
MN, CT etc..
Extinction is a hypothesis that has been PROVEN wrong repeatedly with this
species. The species has/had a low detection rate even when we all agree
it was extant. The proponents of such an important hypothesis as extinction
have a duty to conservation to provide details of their field work. They
are not going to be given a carte blanche pass on adhering to the basic
scientific protocol to research a hyotheses.
Also see logicaL flaws in the constant, poor analogy of >>I can't explain
the various phenomena that
have convinced people that UFOs do exist or that there are Bigfoots in
southern BC<<<. There is formal video, audio, more evidence and data on
actual animals Barry, as follows. Please do not steer us off topic.
There ARE animals in very select areas of the Chocatawhatchee, AR, FL, LA,
etc., that are kenting and double knocking back during certain formal field
work projects. In addition there are video tapes of large woodpeckers with
very high wing beat frequencies and excessive white in the wrong places for
There is an animal with a very limited an heterogenous distribution in the
SE US producing kents and Camphephilus-like double knocks. Just because you
and others are not curious about what is making these noises, that just
coincidentally often come from areas where some are swearing to IBWO
sightings does not mean the rest of us are not very suspicious about this
unsupported extinction hypothesis.
Please help us in an exact fashion understand what animal is on
these recordings, videos, the 5 minute Kulivan sightings, sightings with
with all black heads, why Tobalske and many others see probable IBWO in the
AR and LA videos, the hundred plus birders/outdoorsman that have had
sightings etc, etc.
tks Fred V.
----- Original Message ----
From: Barry K. MacKay <mimus@...>
Sent: Mon, February 15, 2010 10:34:06 AM
Subject: RE: [BIRDCHAT] Ivory-billed Woodpecker Recovery Plan
I think it is impossible to prove that the Ivory-billed Woodpecker is
extinct...how do you prove a negative...I don't know that I can prove my own
birthdate...all I have are some documents that derive from information that
I was too young to independently verify at the time.
I think the search is worth conducting, and I'm all in favour of protecting
potential habitat, but just as I can't explain the various phenomena that
have convinced people that UFOs do exist or that there are Bigfoots in
southern BC and the western U.S., or life after death, neither am I
convinced. I don't think that the acquisition of clearer evidence is
unreasonable; in fact, given the number of people presumably looking.
But if I were depend on personal field data to support the theory that a
species were extinct, I could say that there are several species I've
searched for in the habitat where they were previously seen, and failed to
find them. And yet, since others have, I know they aren't. (I'm thinking,
for one of many examples, of the time I scoured the exact site of a major
study of the species to find the Wrenthrush, Zeledonia coronata, briefly
glimpsed a tailless looking tiny bird flit through the rain but never really
could say I saw it...and yet surely that does not prove it was at that time
Barry Kent MacKay
Markham, Ontario, Canada
From: National Birding Hotline Cooperative (Chat Line)
[mailto:BIRDCHAT@...] On Behalf Of Diane Dubois
Sent: Monday, February 15, 2010 9:34 AM
To: BIRDCHAT@... Subject: Re: [BIRDCHAT] Ivory-billed Woodpecker Recovery Plan
The Ivory-billed Woodpecker is not extinct according to those "warped"
to have done the unheard of..........that is get into the field in SPECIFIC
the SE US. If you have some field data supporting extinction please
Although we are impressed with your "resume" and precipient opinion there
are many others that eclipse your knowledge in video artifact analysis
(AR Video, FL Videos and LA videos), avifauna of SE forests and in avian
acoustical survey methods RESULTING IN EVIDENCE.
Pending your data of others on some/all the following:
where you failed to find an IBWO, and exact methods
what animal is kenting in widely disjunct areas in SE with
large DBH trees
what animal is double knocking back to played DKs in disjunct
SE US areas
where the PIWO can be found with a wing beat Hz of 8.5,
4 seconds, post takeoff
Until then you will excuse us in looking at actual field data, videos
and recordings rather than opinions.
Its conceded that there was some $ waste. Some of us warned via comment on
the IBWO Recovery Plan years ago that certain methods and a concentation on
Arkansas, via Cornell's and "Mueller"
types' opinions, was an error. The use of copters by Rideout...a longshot,
when a wary species is involved. This picture chase and reward was also ill
In the silly category its noted you are not a US citizen but are
complaining about US
taxes. Thanks for the concern but is this a recently developed campaign by
reform waste in the US? Do you have any prior art in US tax reform matters
or is there a specific funding problem that makes you biased on IBWO subject
(with occasional, but formal wandering to the SE US)
it seems to me that there is misconduct-- and a huge
waste of taxpayers' money-- in spending $14 million on a recovery plan for a
species which is clearly extinct, at least in the USA, with no verifiable
sightings in more than half a century.
The $14 million could have been far better spent on preparing recovery
plans, or implementing them, for species still known to exist, and for which
there is some real hope of recovery. Somebody's head should roll for
allowing $14 million to be spent on an Ivory-bill recovery plan.
It is deplorable that the hype surrounding the Ivory-billed Woodpecker seems
have warped the judgment of even some professional biologists to the point
where they seem incapable of distinguishing fact from fiction.
Just the opinion of one professional ornithologist with more than 40 years'