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I've been working on another post, but a related item has cropped up that I just can't quite get out of my head, and I'm surprised that there has been relatively little buzz about it. In the most recent (17 [Read More]


Darrell C.

As A Concerned Scientist pointed out, if we stake out monies and attention to save the presumably extinct Ivory-billed, we may neglect the other species that could be saved. In my backyard in Raleigh, NC we had Red Headed, Hairy, Downy, and Red Bellied all feeding on my suet feeder daily. In the past three weeks they knocked down all but a row of trees to start construction of a new Elementary. Now the only one left is the downy. It was amazing when two species were be on the feeder on different sides. Hopefully destroying their homes and their food source wasn't too much for them.

A Concerned Scientist

Cotinis pretty much hit the nail on the head. This is typical of the arrogance and lack of ethics seen in academia today. (Guess what kids, it's not just Big Oil and Big Pharma that misrepresent scientific data!) Massive ego, a lack of oversight/accountability, and a dwindling pool of Federal funds are a recipe for disaster.

Fitzpatrick's "evidence" for the Ivory-bill is so laughably weak that it's sad. Take his name off of the manuscript and I guarantee that reviewers for even the lowest-impact journal would reject it in a New York second. This is yet another example of the "good old boy" reviewer system looking out for one of their own.

And if Fitzpatrick's claims weren't bad enough, his (alleged) use of threats and bribery to silence his critics is deplorable. I'd say that Cornell's Lab needs to look for a new director.


Cyberthursh said---
"documenting even just 2 birds remaining would demonstrate that it actually survived the habitat destruction of the 18 and 1900's, and possibly could've been saved but for the benign neglect of the last 60 years."

Yeah of course it would, especially if they had documented even just 2 birds, which they didn't. So it couldn't have been saved in the last 60 years because it has been extinct all that time. The vortex is long since gone down the drain on this one. Time to try to save some birds that have a chance.


All of this sounds like typical scientific/institutional politics, with lab chiefs defending their data, no matter how dubious, like medieval lords defending their fiefdoms. Their weaponry includes peer review, threats, and bribes instead of maces and swords, but the behavior is the same. And truth, of course, is the first casualty of such a war.

As far as the "vortex of extinction", I agree with my friend Cyberthrush, but I feel the vortex of extinction was swirling starting in the 1880's, with the door finally closed in the 1940's. I've been tantalized by the sketchy reports of IBWO since the 1960's, but no confirmation has ever been forthcoming. My hopes have been tickled, then dashed, over and over for forty-five years. All the zeros from the latest round of searching, with its huge manpower and high-tech tools, has convinced me that the bird really was gone in 1944. I had never thought this true until recently.


I agree that the Ivory-bill is probably in the "vortex of extinction," but documenting even just 2 birds remaining would demonstrate that it actually survived the habitat destruction of the 18 and 1900's, and possibly could've been saved but for the benign neglect of the last 60 years... and that would be an important thing to know, and a lesson learned.

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