Saturday, January 19, 2008

Ivory Bill Hunters

Thursday night was a high point for me this past week. Dr. Geoff Hill from Auburn University was coming to the barn at Tall Timbers Research Station for a lecture on Ivorybills and the work he has done over the past two years.


  1. check out

  2. I admire your dedication to this search--life list or not.
    It must be indescribable to walk/boat (?) some of those wild areas--

  3. Your post indicates "sightings" a number of times,I assume refering to the IBW. This is news to me .

    I known one of the professional ornithologists who has been on a couple of extended searches who reports, as does the national media, that aside from the original sighting, much in dispute by Sibley, there have been no verified sightings anywhere . I am confused. Are you sure that there have been new, verified sightings of the IBW ??

  4. Cestoady,
    Buy the book and decide for yourself. I'm certainly not claiming I have made any sightings.

  5. Thanks,I will see if our library has a copy.

    I have checked the Hill IBW blog and website and aside from extensive descriptions of "kents" and "knocking" ,I could not find any mention of actually seeing, i.e. sighting, a bird. Because even blue jays , not to mention some other birds can at time sound like IBWs, from what I can gather, until there are actual sightings, and better still ,video or good photos, the original record (not the 1966 one which sounds fishy to me) is the only bona fide "sighting".

  6. Cestoady,
    The Hill website holds field notes on sightings and the book claims fourteen sightings and a video. I saw the video and it is intriguing. The book also addresses the possibiity of misidentifications. The audio record matches the visual records in many sightings as well.

    I read David Sibley's reaction to these claims and I was disappointed in his argument. He argues against the sightings using the psychological notion of suggestion (an area about which he is probably not an expert) and gives what I thought were very weak arguments regarding misidentification.

    The audio evidence seems to eliminate blue jay calls and Hill notes that no blue jays were sighted in the search area, at all.
    These skilled birders are not likely to mix up pileated woodpeckers with ivorybills. I don't think buzzards would land on trees as those birds did, no crows have white underwings, and ducks don't perch on tree trunks either! So what could they have seen?

    But I did forget to ask him if he ruled out turpentine hunters as a reason for pine bark stripping!

    A clear photo and a clear video will clear up these issues. So we must wait and see!