Fred Virrazzi seems to be wondering why I, as a Canadian, am concerned about
how money is spent in the US on endangered species recovery.
For a start, I spent 4 years in Mississippi, earning my Ph.D. at Mississippi
State University under Dr. Jerome A. (Jerry) Jackson. As most of you know,
Jerry is an authority on woodpeckers in general and on the Ivory-billed in
particular, and author of "In Search of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker".
No, I did not study woodpeckers, and I doubt that Jerry would be in complete
agreement with my views. However, if I may quote from his book, he did state
at one point (page 238) that "The probability of Ivory-bills still existing
in the United States or Cuba is slight". I agree.
When one considers that most of the southeastern USA is quite heavily
populated and that the Ivory-billed Woodpecker is a large, wide-ranging, and
relatively conspicuous bird, it is difficult to explain why, in more than 50
years, no one has been able to come up with convincing evidence of its
continued existence, if in fact it does exist. The evidence produced in
numerous supposed sightings so far, including photos, videos, and sound
recordings, would not convince the average statewide "Bird Records
Committee". This includes the supposed observations in Arkansas in 2003 and
2004, as well as more recent reports. Jerry Jackson himself addresses this
topic under the heading "Good Conservation, Bad Science".
As to why I am concerned about how money is spent in the U.S.? The
Ivory-billed Woodpecker was found only in the U.S.-- and in Cuba, where it
is probably also extinct. The loss of this remarkable species would be a
huge loss not just for the U.S., but for the world, so I have every right to
criticize how money is spent on endangered species recovery in the U.S. (For
the record, in Canada, much less money is spent on endangered species
recovery (per capita or per species) than in the U.S., so I am not being
anti-American-- far from it. The Endangered Species Act in the US came into
effect 30 years prior to similar legislation in Canada, and it is a far
better piece of legislation.)
My main point was that there are dozens of other species and subspecies in
the U.S. that are critically endangered, and where recovery is possible, but
some of them aren't even officially listed as endangered yet. Unfortunately,
most of them don't get the media attention of "glamor birds" like the
Ivory-bill, but they may be just as important from a biological viewpoint.
To me, it seems like a crime to spend many millions of dollars on a recovery
effort for a species which is almost certainly extinct, while ignoring other
species which are still known to exist, and which could far better use those
From: National Birding Hotline Cooperative (Chat Line)
[mailto:BIRDCHAT@...] On Behalf Of Diane Dubois
Sent: February-15-10 6:34 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'