News Brief by Kip Hansen – 14 April 2022
The poor Ivory-billed Woodpecker must feel like a yo-yo – being declared extinct, probably extinct and nearly maybe extinct and then being un-extincted, repeatedly over the last decade or so.
Here are some typical headlines:
“The ‘Lord God Bird’ might be extinct, but the story of the ivory-billed woodpecker isn’t over yet”
“Humans Have Officially Killed Off the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker”
“The ivory-billed woodpecker (Campephilus principalis) is a possibly extinct woodpecker”
“Is it too soon to declare the ivory-billed woodpecker extinct?”
“The ivory-billed woodpecker, along with 22 other species of birds, fish, mussels and other wildlife, is set to be declared extinct and removed from the endangered species list…”
“Ivory-billed Woodpecker to Be Officially Declared Extinct in U.S. “
Back From The Dead? Elusive Ivory-Bill Woodpecker Not Extinct: Researchers
A brand-new paper starts this way:
“The history of decline of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker is long, complex, and controversial. The last widely accepted sighting of this species in continental North America was 1944. Reports of Ivory-billed Woodpeckers have continued, yet in 2021 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed declaring the species extinct. We draw on 10 years of search effort, and provide trail camera photos and drone videos suggesting the consistent presence of Ivory-billed Woodpeckers at our study site.”
The paper it titled “Multiple lines of evidence indicate survival of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker in Louisiana” [.pdf] and written by Steven C. Latta, Mark A. Michaels, Don Scheifler, Thomas C. Michot Peggy L. Shrume, Patricia Johnson, Jay Tischendorf, Michael Weeks, John Trochet and Bob Ford. The authors are from a diverse collection of universities and agencies. It is not the work of one disgruntled bird enthusiast.
Their findings include:
”We believe that our observations contribute to a clearer understanding of the twin problems of why the Ivory-billed Woodpecker has been so difficult to detect and to relocate over the past 80 years. These issues begin with the misperception that, if present, the Ivory-bill is relatively easy to find – a misperception that extends at least as far back as Tanner (in 1944)” or, as stated elsewhere in the paper “that the Ivory-bill should be noisy and easy to find.”
“Misperceptions on the ease of finding the Ivory-bill extend to the frequent argument that in the modern era it is unlikely that a large, distinctive woodpecker could escape the sights, cameras, and recorders, of birdwatchers and other people who are recreating or working outdoors in remote areas.”
“Beyond the questions of detection and documentation, our data offer insights into how the ecology and behavior of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker would contribute to the difficulty in finding or re-finding this species. We know that the Ivory-bill inhabits some of the most difficult to access habitat in the U.S., and that mature bottomland forests are a core component of that habitat.”
And then, as with many other subjects:
“The authenticity of reports from non-scientists, hunters, fishermen, and rural residents, who may be the most likely people to access habitats such as those occupied by the Ivory-bill, are often dismissed. Though often keen and knowledgeable observers of their natural world, their observations of rare or unusual species are frequently devalued relative to the science-based perspectives of researchers.”
As usual, the experts wouldn’t accept the practical evidence from those mostly likely to have good evidence.
Besides that, apparently Ivory-bills don’t really like people and avoid them and populated areas.
Ivory-billed Woodpeckers are not extinct – but are rare and live in limited areas of bottom-land forests far from humans. They are not booming but they are not gone.
Does it really matter? In the larger scheme of things, probably not, there are actually just a large woodpecker, a little mysterious, with a limited range.
# # # # #
I have been amused by the on-again-off-again Ivory-bill story. I do like woodpeckers though. My five-year old grandson and I built this peanut feeder for his back yard and he insisted on adding the lettering . . . .
Thanks for reading.
# # # # #
Ivory Billed woodpeckers are a good example of the nature of evidence. One cannot “prove” them extinct, but one can demonstrate they are bloody rare.
Same goes for the Cuban ivory-billed woodpecker, last definitely seen in 1986.
The Jays will get a lot of them.
Unfortunately, those !#$#@@$!# squirrels can’t read!!! 😮 😉
But can you be certain? Have you proven they cannot read? Maybe they simply read and chose to ignore the posted warning(s)!
I have the same high level of proof that they can as the Climatistas
have that we have < 10 yrs b4 it’s too late. So there!!! 😮 😉
Red94 ==> squirrel scoff-laws!
One sign of that is if they look at the sign, then turn to look at you and laugh.
They don’t have to be able to read and they can make themselves understood very easily.
Squirrel Wars 😮 😉
I can’t watch this video enough- squirrel goes for a spin:
Come on! Keep on trying:
Sometimes they need electric shock therapy:
OM ==> We had squirrel problems until we bought a counter-weighted bird feeder. Closed when anything weighing more than a small bird gets on it.
We put out peanuts and sunflower seeds for them
So we have spoiled rotten squirrels
Mike ==> Don’t encourage them — like trolls, they’ll just keep coming back for more!
We make ours live on acorns and other local nuts. Plenty of oaks.
I know but it’s fun watching them
Mike ==> I like watching squirrels — I don’t like them digging up newly planted bulbs or stuffing their cheeks with pounds of sunflower seeds meant for the birds.
On this side of The Pond the ones you have are sometimes referred to as American Tree Rats. Our native red ones tend to keep away from humans more than yours.
OldSea Dog ==> We have the red squirrels to, they compete with the greys, unfairly somehow…maybe I’ll do a piece about them. Send me all you know.
Old Man ==> What you can’t see is the wording on one end. After Lil B insisted that we add “Woodpeckers Only” I suggested “No Elephants” for one end — he considered this very seriously for a few minutes and announced that he didn’t think elephants could walk that far (from Africa) so he added “No Giraffes”. (because, he said they havelong legs and maybe could walk that far!)
Kids do say the darnedest things, don’t they? 😉
That is very logical.. Maybe you should plant some Acacia trees (or whatever giraffes eat) just in case…
I cannot argue with his logic.
Maybe we should get Washington to pass a law to stop the squirrels, that will fix it.
Bob ==> Write your Congressman and Senator – we must stop the stealing squirrels before they eat ALL the bird food and all the birds die!
It’s worse than we thought!
They don’t deal well with traffic either. Most common road kill in my neighborhood is Fox squirrels.
They are playing to the judges and the courts while getting some product through the publication mill process for credit and promotion in the accreditation-driven process of looking busy for lesser institutions. It worked before and this is another trip to the well.
ResourceGuy ==> Actually, these guys and gals are fighting back against poor science, some at the risk of their jobs. See the paper and the author affiliations.
It’s certainly going to produce an uproar in ornithology world.
John ==> The experts will be denying.
They’ll be all aflutter.
The subject just sets me off from past experience observing it.
RG ==> Yes, I know (I have been doing the skeptic thing for over a decade). But not these particular guys….
This sort of reminds me of some police work. There were headlines in the papers when the police discovered a whole bunch of automobiles under the water at the bottom of an abandoned sandpit in or near Pearland, Texas (south side of Houston, down in Brazoria County), and the police played it up like they had really solved some cases. I think the final count approached 70 vehicles, including a big-rig, and many or most had been stolen. But my brother, who lived in the area, just shrugged, “Everyone that lives around here is completely unsurprised, they have known about that for years. Many of the locals even helped get the vehicles from the dry land down into the sandpit. A car would mysteriously appear on the flat and relatively clear space above the pit, abandoned, often with parts missing. A few days later it would be gone, because the local kids would come over after dark and a bunch of them together would push it over the edge.”
So, the same will happen for the ivory billed woodpecker. The academics will declare miraculous success at “finding” a living example, and the locals will just shrug, because they have been watching it for years, and nobody would believe them if or when they reported it, so they just quit reporting it. Or they never bothered to report it at all, because they saw it regularly, it was hardly something to get excited about.
Red94 ==> (Is that a car? The red Viper?)
Yes, that is the case with the Ivory-bill.
Yes, that’s my dream car. The ’94 especially because it was the last year that still had the side-discharge exhaust pipes (I think). (In later years, the pipes were still there, after all they weren’t ready to make a major design change, they were just covered by a plastic fascia. So if you still wanted side-discharge exhaust, you could cut a(n elliptical) hole in the plastic, cut out a section of the pipe and end it with a bend to the hole, repeat on the other side of the car, and voila…!)
Red ==> Like this one?
“Does it really matter? “
Yes it does. Even IF the authors don’t care about forced protections, others will.
The ESA is a bureaucratic tool used to take away resources from others, more than a tool to protect anything (see dead eagles as example).
(as an aside, whatever happened to the 7 govt employees that tried to fake the presence of lynx in Washington? … “they were disciplined.”)
DonM ==> DSo if they were decalred Extinct, then all the ESA nonsense surrounding them would go away….
Might be best overall — even if not true.
I know co-author number 4 very well, Tommy Michot, am even a co-author with him. Competent wildlife scientist. Actually works in the field, among other places.
Michot, T. C., E. B. Moser and W. Norling. 1994. Effects of weather and tides on feeding and flock positions of wintering redheads in the Chandeleur Sound, Louisiana. Hydrobiologia 279/280:263-280. Brasseaux, C. A., H. D. Hoese, and T. C. Michot. 2004. Pioneer amateur naturalist Louis Judice: Observations on the fauna, flora, geography, and agriculture of the Bayou LaFourche region, Louisiana, 1772-1786. Louisiana History. 45(1):71-109. Oldest report of cormorants herding fish.
Been hearing about Ivory Bills in Louisiana for decades. The most successful animal is one that we never see! They do see cougars, not so much mountain.
H.D. Hoese ==> Thank you for your personal knowledge.
I read a lot of papers, in a lot of fields, and Michot and his co-authors struck me as serious and competent, and aware that their paper might stir up some backlash.
Back in the 1950s, when the bird was first declared extinct,
I would go into the back yard and view a nesting pair…
this was in NJ , on the edge of that pine barren forest..
Butler ==> Very cool!
Can almost guarantee what you saw were pileated woodpeckers, a bird that in appearance is quite similar to the ivory-billed, but smaller.
And, given the range of the pileated woodpecker, many of the so-called “sightings” of ivory-billed were actually the pileated.
Occasionally we see pairs of pileated woodpeckers in S. Vermont. They are extremely flighty and will take off or hide as soon they see you. They are quite large and make quite a racket when boring thru trees.
LK ==> Yesh, probably — but onecan’t be sure.
The range of the ivory-billed woodpecker NEVER extended to NJ. It truly was/is a swamp creature of southeast Arkansas and Louisiana. Meanwhile, the pileated woodpecker range extends basically coast to coast in both hardwood and conifer forests. Much more of a generalist.
LK ==> Yes, we know. But we try not to shout down genuine commenters here.
I only capitalized “never” because didn’t think I could italicize it. I see editing options are now similar. Still, only done for emphasis.
LK ==> No worries. Ivory-bills were found in the latest study to travel long distances — but probably not to NJ.
“Ivory-bills – – – not to NJ.”
They show very good sense then. I wouldn’t go there either.
Thanks Kip, good post.
Certainly not today with the price of fuel as high as it is…
ih-fan ==> Made me laugh!
That’s a distinct possibility. Pileateds are striking. When you stumble on one at close range, they are breathtaking.
I saw a couple (or maybe the same one a couple of times) of pileated woodpeckers in Spring, Texas in 1992. I now live in Alabama, and I haven’t seen one yet, but I’m sure they’re here.
In New Jersey, you’re more likely to see a Leopard Print Cougar.
If you want more peckerpeckers:
Grow more oak trees and sunflowers
Those trees are chock full of the bugs/stuff they like to eat and are made of rock solid wood so when ‘pecked’ give the maximum bang per peck-buck
(The Lady Peckers appreciate that)
Ancient semi and actually expired oaks, if left alone, become bug havens and create epic nesting sites within themselves.
They’re also very partial to black sunflower seeds and also, as many creatures are including all feathered, crittered and aquatic: suet pellets.
=Fat Eaters – just like us.
Or make, fix up bird-boxes with especially big entrance holes
But not too near your or anyone’s house, all peckerpeckers are impossibly timid, shy and ‘highly strung’ – they see you coming loooooonnnnnggggg longway before you see them – as the story here tells
The reason these large woodpeckers are dying off is because of clear
cutting forests which gets rid of the standing dead trees, the kind that took
out my barbecue but missed my car parked next to it. Whew!!! We also had
another one like it & each had > 25 woodpecker holes in them!
In Germany, they took out a 1000 yr old forest to put up a wind park. If the
lack of dead trees doesn’t get them, the bird choppers will!!!
Utter nonsense. Clearcutting has zero impact on the populations of “large” woodpeckers. I live in an area where clearcutting was common, and hardly a day goes by that I don’t at least hear a pileated woodpecker calling, or hammering on a large SNAG.
And as the article points out, the ivory-billed woodpecker was always limited to a very small and unique habitat. In my view, it probably is extinct, or will be because its small population size is not sustainable from a genetic standpoint.
I think you helped prove my case even more. The pilleated
has a much greater range than the other two. Also, the
pilleated’s range includes a wide area that wasn’t clear cut
recently. I live in N MN & it was clear cut >100ya.
Old Man ==> Look up how much never-cut forest exists in your state. In NY it is limited to a few hundred acres or so.
For MN, it was <2% never-cut. There’s a “Lost
Forty” of old growth white pine- ~145A- that
wasn’t cut because that land was mapped as a
I knew Paul Bunyan had started in MI & moved
west, through WI, & we were the end of the
line. His statues in the US go from ME to CA.
(his name ~ be French so it may have started
My grandpa cleared some land 100+ ya & used
the oak to build a large gambrel barn & a full 2
story house. Both are still standing strong!
BTW, they’re still harvesting old growth trees- off the bottoms of the
Great Lakes. They definitely won’t be knotty pine! 😮 😉
Peta not in NJ ==> My sons hang long strip of deer fat — almost chalky — in the trees for the birds to eat all winter. Every type of bird stops by for a bit of fat.
This is why one sees birds pecking at roadkill.
Kip. I think one of the problems is that piliated woodpeckers aren’t that much smaller than ivory billed woodpeckers and have a somewhat similar color scheme. Unless you can get one to sit still for a while, it’s probably hard to tell which you are looking at. Piliated woodpeckers aren’t all that common, but they are widespread and not endangered. We see one at our birdfeeder here in Vermont for a few minutes every year or two. Always something of a shock as they are much larger than any other bird that feeds there.
Both have that funky Jurassic pterodactyl look. If you ever hear any
pounding on your house, you’d better move, STAT, as they’re part of
nature’s demolition crew!
Hydro One, the utility that looks after power lines in most of rural Ontario, has spent millions of dollars over the past several years replacing poles that piliated use as preferred nesting ‘trees’. In some areas they have given up on wooden poles and had to install steel towers: all because of piliated woodpeckers.
Have you seen the videos of the woodpecker “drumming” on a steel pole? More than one video exists, and man it do make a sound!
DonK ==> Yes, you are right — we have Piliateds in my area too. The Ivroy-bills, which we don’t have, have rather distinctive white markings (see images).
The ones by me don’t really come to the feeders, since they are close to the house I suspect. They are REALLY skittish, making it hard to get a good look at them.
They are very common where I live, in nw Ont. I see hundreds of them over the course of a year. Often a dozen or more in a day.
Bruce => That’s Northwest Ontario?
Yes. I live in Kenora, on acerage.
Bruce ==> Wild beautiful country.
Last year, we spotted what turned out to be a mountain lion on a parking area we have, not far from woods. It lingered a short time, but not long enough for my wife to get her camera. I’m guessing it’s camera-shy which explains why, despite numerous reported sighting, no pictures (or ones that are good enough) exist, as the Fish and Game’s official stance is (still) that mountain lions do not exist here in New Hampshire. I guess that declaring they do indeed exist here would open somewhat of a bureaucratic nightmare, because then they would have to come up with a protection plan for them, and that could step on hunter’s toes. God forbid they shoud piss off hunters. We didn’t bother reporting it, I guess because it’s a bit like claiming you saw a UFO. The response would likely be patronizing and insulting. No, it was not a bobcat. The differences between the two are stark.
Bruce ==> Yes, it is a long ongoing controversey in NY as well. A friend saw one down in the Catskills and local DEP officers denied and denied until the photgraphed and measured the prints — then insisted that it was transient.
I like the idea of a transient mountain lion. Something that doesn’t exist going from one place it doesn’t exist to another place that it doesn’t exist…
Phil ==> The Catch 22 of the animal world.
We have more than enough lions here in Colorado. Please feel free to take some to NH. Just remember that they will kill you and eat you.
Pathway ==> re Mountain Lions: endemic to most of North America before we hunted them out. Humans just don’t really like wildlife that considers them or human children a food choice.
This, right here, is what I use as proof that the no-hunting-at-all crowd is just nucking futs! Before the Europeans arrived on this continent, carnivores hunted and everything else was food, and it worked. Now I’m sure there were still population swings and possibly even population crashes due to over-crowding which leads not only to over-forage and starvation, but also to the easy and rapid spreading of any contagious disease, but nonetheless, it worked. Then the Europeans came and “conquered” the New World, which included virtually eliminating most large predators, after all, they wanted their family and children to be as safe as possible, just as parents everywhere do. But that means in many areas there are no longer natural predators of deer, elk, buffalo, moose, i.e., the game animals (food), which then would mean, in the absence of hunting, the only thing that puts an end to the life of the game animals is old age, starvation, or a disease. In other words, we have eliminated the game animals’ natural predators so we humans have to take over that role, otherwise, the lives of all game animals are miserable, often ending in starvation. No hunting, under the present circumstances, I believe is exceedingly cruel!
They’ve been seen in the Twin Cities for at least a dozen years. Here’s a
personal protection plan in case you stumble upon one:
Old Man ==> Your DNR says “In addition, DNR annual scent-post and winter tracking surveys have recorded no evidence to suggest the possibility of a resident breeding population of cougars in Minnesota.”
NY DEP says exactly the same thing no matter how much evidence to the contrary is presented.
Well, they are uncommon but present in Manitoba, several have been shot and trapped within the last 15 years or so and many have been photographed. They have also been documented in northwestern Ontario, a couple near Thunder Bay, including one found dead, and an excellent video a few months ago north of Kenora.
Their food supply & habitat have probably increased a lot & they aren’t being
hunted. So their range should have naturally increased, too.
Old Man ==> All the bug predators begin to come back once we quit killing them — then we find out why we killed them in the first place.
Unarmed humans are NOT on the top of the food chain. We’ll plea
… why did we kill bug predators … we find that we get too many bugs? … they come back and get rid of the annoying bugs …? This Kip guy usually makes good/reasonable points … let me read this again.
(my thought process the first time through. and the second time through…. Oh, O.K. I got it the third time through.)
DonM ==> Ah, you caught the typo…I wondered if anyone would.
They do have cougars in the Black Hills, 400-500 mi W of the Twin Cities (Coulda
hopped a freight train!). Finding cubs would be irrefutable proof!
~30 ya- unheard of sighting of a moose in SE ND, ~300 mi from NE MN. They now
have moose hunting in ND. Go figure!
You reminded me of a joke I heard.
The governor of California took a walk through a nature park with his dog and came across a coyote. At first, the governor tried to shoo away the coyote, but he couldn’t and the coyote ended up killing his dog and then bites the governor. The governor was able to climb a tree for safety, where he used his cell phone to call animal control. Animal control captures the coyotes, bills the state for $500 to test for rabies, and $2000 to relocate the coyote. Another $500 was charged to safely handle to governor’s former dog. The hospital bills the state $5000 for fix the governor’s bite wound and test for diseases. The state then temporarily closes the park for a few months to make sure there are no dangerous animals. This costs $100,000. The state also spends another $500,000 on a “Coyote Awareness” campaign to educate the people about how to deal with dangerous animals in the wild. The governor’s security guards are fired for not stopping the attack, and now the state spends another $150,000 for training new security guards. PETA also sues California because the coyote was taken out of its natural habitat. The state settles with PETA and ends up paying $7,500,000 in lawyer fees and settlements. This one coyote attack cost California $8,258,000.
The governor of Texas took a walk through a nature park with his dog and came across a coyote. The governor takes out his sidearm and shoots the coyote. Total cost to the state: $1.00 for the bullet.
(You can replace Texas with any strong republican state and California with any strong democrat state for this joke.)
What did Tex shoot it with, a .50 AE?? Well, some ammo might be that expensive now. I haven’t bought pistol rounds in forever.
Clearly you haven’t. I think the list price for 10 mm was >$1.00/round, but they were “out of stock”. Fat lot of good that did me.
Jesus, Mary and Joseph! I had no idea…
I really don’t want to look up a brick of .22LR. But then I did. I’m seeing $35-$75 per brick! I think I paid $10-$15 the last time I bought.
…and after that, the governor of Texas didn’t even ask to be reimbursed for his round. You thought you were making this up, well, maybe the first part, but the second part actually happened to Gov Rick Perry. And I’m also not making up he did not ask to be reimbursed for the cost of his round. And the dog got home safe and well, also.
Wade ==> Good story….
Wait, that was a joke?
I guess a $1.00 bullet is the giveaway…
Yes, it is a joke. The point of the joke is to make fun of democrat run states that have ultra-high taxes and still unable to pay their bills.
Reminds me a bit when Grizzlies were declared threatened in Alberta but those of us who worked in grizzly country shook our heads as the mountains were teeming with them. But why trust the eyes of people who spend every day in the backcountry when you can throw your trust in some university city folk spending a few weeks a year. They substitute years of knowledge with remedial statistics understanding and poorly designed research methodologies tempered with an axe to grind and a compulsion to “save the earth.”
Dave ==>Yep — over-dependence on certified (or certifiable) Experts.
Who probably combine a scant minimum of actual field work with…models.
Right! Model schmodel, I say.
The “empixellated” at work again
Your sharp eyes have once again produced delight.
I have sent this article to my ornithologist pal.
John ==> Glad to be of service — I get bored of CliSci.
I wish Seth Borenstein did. I had a nasty email exchange with him this week. He is almost as obnoxious as Michael “Piltdown” Mann.
John ==> Please share with me, it you will, email me at my first name at i4.net
Unfortunately— as much as I’d like to, for privacy and ethical reasons, I am not going to be able to do that.
John ==> No worries — I battled Seth B when he was at the NY Times….many times here on WUWT.
They may not be Ivory Bills around here, they certainly are big here western PA, and they are not particularly shy.
2hotel9 ==> Yes, Penn has a lot of woodpeckers: The red-headed woodpecker (Melanerpes erythrocephalus), red-bellied woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus), yellow-bellied sapsucker (Sphyrapicus varius), downy woodpecker (Dryobates pubescens), hairy woodpecker (Dryobates villosus), northern flicker (Colaptes auratus) and pileated woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus) are residents.
Not all woodpeckers are shy — many homeowners wish they were shyer.
Of those I’ve seen the red bellied, hairy, downy and pileated in CT. All but the pileated visit my feeders.
AGW ==> I particularly like the little Downies.
A red-bellied woodpecker, with the fire orange extending a bit lower on the side of its head,
landed on the deck railing. With the sun shining down on it, I was expecting to see a
pierced earring dangling from its ear. Quite gnarly!
One of those has been to my feeder several times.
If the red cap extends to it’s bill it is a male. If not then it’s most likely a female. I have many generations hitting my seed blocks over the years.
Red bellied, Hairy, Downy, and Nuthatches are year around visitors to my feeders. Red Headed comes around in the spring and sticks around for the summer but for some reason disappears in the fall. Northern Flickers come through as transients. Last Pileated I saw come through where I live among the Indiana fields, was several years ago. But in Mounds state park a few miles from here there is a population. The woodpeckers that are regular visitors all prefer the seed blocks to the regular feeder.
rah ==> YEs, I rarely get the redheaded (though everyone incorrectly calls the Red-bellied Red-Headed.) My understanding is that the true Red-head are more migratory.
Again, most certainly the pileated woodpecker. Similar in appearance to ivory-billed, but smaller.
Don’t know about smaller, ones around us look like crows at a distance. When flying you immediately know it is a woodpecker, very distinctive manner of flying.
The point I was making is they are not small or shy. We make woodpecker feeders out of log sections and they beat hell out of them. Cool to watch.
2hotel9 ==> (Is that a call sign?)
I use 1/4″ hardware cloth and make a tube about 3 ” in diameter, closed at the bottom and flip-up lid. Fill with raw peanuts in the shells. Hand from nearby tree. all the woodpeckers visit it and several other species of birds as well.
Well, they refound the Australian Night Parrot after it went mostly missing after 1912…
Lots of controversy before a live one found…
Night parrot – Wikipedia
griff ==> I may do a piece on “un-extincted” species….thanks for the link.
If you do, a suggested tittle, “It’s Better Than We Thought!”. 😎
Gunga ==> Thanks, I might have used that one before, but it is a goody.
I like this from the preprint, lines 429 and 430: The findings and conclusions in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the views of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Multiple lines of evidence indicate survival of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker in Louisiana
A wildlife camera costs like $800 that will detect motion and has a infrared camera for night time….drones that carry cameras are also available for a price….not many secrets in the woods any more. Coyotes are pretty much all over the US now…not endangered….cougars are also pretty widespread. The Ivory woodpecker is/was a species that apparently would not adapt.
In my travels, I visited a collection of Navy bases on the peninsula of Washington State, and in one office there was a pretty good pic of a mountain lion. They told me they found the pic on one of the trail cameras they have out on the base, but no one had reported seeing the mountain lion in living color yet. They agreed it may have been temporary, just traveling through, but they agreed it could be a long-term resident as well, there was plenty of cover on that installation.
I have forgotten who wrote it, but it was someone who has seen a lot of these United States… She started by reporting that on roads in Florida in and around the Everglades, a place that nearly everyone agrees houses cougars, there is a road-kill cougar fairly regularly, she says more than one a year. In the rest of the United States it never happens (as Willis Eschenbach has said, “Where are the bodies?”). She used that single data point as a pretty strong indicator that mountain lions no longer exist in most of the areas where officials insist they don’t exist. She may have something there. Unless the Everglades cougar is a sub-species of lesser intelligence? 😀
Red ==> Florida reports panther deaths regularly at:
Where is the cougar’s food? Deer are plentiful…wild hogs are rampant in Texas and other places…how about those pet cats and dogs? There is a guy who puts videos on Youtube from his camera in the South Florida area….bears…deer….bobcats…cougars…coyotes…and the usual alligator and smaller animals. A bear has been known to sniff his camera….great sense of smell.
Several years ago they had a black panther sighting no far from my parents place at Port Charlot.
rah ==> Pretty odd, that. An escapee from a wildlife park? A abnormally colored Florida Panther?
Atlanta Georgia as well.
OK S ==> Yes US FWS wants to declare the bird extinct. they can’t do that if it ain’t.
If they declare them extinct, if I find one, I can take a photo and name it the ‘Shotsky Woodpecker’…
John ==> Then have it declared Endangered and reap the benefit of owning the only known habitat….
So would they not share the video and photographic evidence with WUWT?
They’re in the preprint, under copyright by the authors. I suppose WUWT could ask them for permission, but the authors may be reserving them for publication elsewhere.
The photos in the preprint don’t look like they would make a good coffee table book, however. Maybe the videos are better.
EDIT: Left out the “may.”
OK S ==> If you’re that interested:
Corresponding author: firstname.lastname@example.org
“…multiple lines of evidence…” may not include either videos nor photographs. Sorry, I’m just being facetious, ignore me if it rubs you the wrong way.
S Browne ==> The pre-print (see pdf link in essay) contains stills from the videos — they are fuzzy and from a distance.
My former boss and her husband spent a lot of time hiking in the mountains around our town. They saw a lot of evidence of grizzly bears in a particular area. They reported it to the ranger and were told, no there are no grizzlies there. My boss told the ranger, we are experienced hikers we know grizzly sign when we see it. The ranger told them that if they showed him a picture of a grizzly leaning up against the trailhead sign he would still tell them there are no grizzlies up there. That is when I became distrustful of experts and professionals. Our town is literally surrounded by grizzlies, not a lot of them but they are there non the less.
Bob ==> Strange isn’t it, the response of wildlife officials to reports of animals their bosses need to say don’t live here?
It’s funny how that works. A friend of mine had been to Yellowstone three times and never saw a Grizz. Three years ago I went for the first time and I saw two. One of them digging roots on a hillside about 70 yards away.
There were a bunch of people there standing watching and taking pictures. My wife was concerned for our safety. I told her to look around at the other people. You only have to be faster than the slowest one.
The trail camera photos and drone videos should settle the argument. Where are they?
Cannot speak to ivory bills. Can speak to ordinary woodpeckers, and also deer, black bear, wild Turkey, and such. Most were creatures of the forest/edge landscape. Formerly maintained by spot forest fires, now maintained by farms. The few species almost solely dependent on old deep forest are mostly now lost. All others gained. My dairy farm ‘knows’ this.
Whether ivory bills are extinct, dunno. Do know their range has been severely limited by old growth southern logging.
Of less interest but more relevance, about 35 species of fresh water mussels were made extinct by direct US government action via TVA dams in the 1930’s. Mussel Shoals used to have that name for a reason. Nobody said anything.
Rud ==> Could you eat the mussels? People are far less interested in mollusks that we don’t eat.
I am no expert but the quality of the pictures look more like the quality you get when somebody shows you proof about the lock ness monster. I would have thought that after
10 years of trying to get photographic proof they would have come up with something better.
Instead all of the pictures all seem to take place at dawn or dusk and often when there is mist around.
None of which is say that they are wrong but just that the evidence falls a long way short of being convincing.
Izaak ==> Yes, but they are very up-front about the quality. Trail cams don’t have that wonderful definition of long-range NatGeo photography.
Glad to hear that the Ivory Billed is “alive and pecking”.
edward ==> Like it!
Timing is off. Declare them extinct today (Good Friday). Roll out the good news on Sunday.
I have a tendency to believe that the “experts” are disgruntled environmentalists whose “expertise” consists of “proving” everything is going extinct because of Global Warming, Climate Change, theme of the month.
The DNR does surveys of birds and plants every few years on my property and I get a copy of their results. They enlist biology students from the local university to make their observations. They identified 3 known species of woodpecker (Downy, Hairy, and Red-bellied) and one unknown species.
Maybe the Ivory-billed is so rare the student observers just don’t know what they are.
Brad-DXT ==> One unknown? Downies, Hairies, and Red-bellies are common in my area, just trying to guess what the unknown one might have been.
I don’t have any expertise in the required fields to make a guess.
I just came back from my woods trying to find a male Meleagris gallopavo otherwise known as a wild turkey. Unfortunately I only got within range of a hen.
The majority of the woodpeckers I observe while sitting on my property are the Red-bellied but I generally don’t travel much into the frequently flooded areas. As far as I know, this area has never been clear cut due to its unsuitability for farming. It is lowland surrounding a creek that overflows its banks every spring and frequently during summer and fall. I am surrounded by farmland so the area is sparsely populated.
Brad ==> What state are you in again? I can check what woodpeckers are most common there.
That property is by the Illinois/Kentucky border.
Brad ==> See the distribution maps on this page:
That property is in Illinois towards the Kentucky border.
I should mention that the surveys I have allowed them to conduct since 1999 are only snapshots of the populations on my property and I think only occur during the summer. I don’t know how long they stay out in the woods to accomplish them or the experience level of the observers since I am never present due to not living in the area. They are overseen by CTAP (Critical Trends Assessment Programs) which are looking for correlations between the changes in woodland plants and bird species.
The bird surveys are signed off by people designated as ornithologists. I have no clue why an ornithologist would include a bird classified as a woodpecker but not identify the species.
Brad ==> Bird watchers sometimes identify birds from a distance — a woodpeckers can be identified pecking at a tree further than they can be clearly identified as anything other than a woodpecker.
This reminds me of the first edition by Briggs and Leigh “Rare and Threatened Australian Plants” (CSIRO publishing). They listed two species Mangrove Palm and the Dorrigo Paper Daisy as extinct. By the second edition they had been removed for the extinction list. The Mangrove Palm proved to be Australia’s most common palm (no body had looked for it). The Paper Daisy was found to be disturbance depended and found on freshly graded tracks and logging dumps.