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Chuck Hagner

Thanks for the comments, everyone.

Regarding the number of cameras: Geoff Hill tells me his team deployed 19 remote cameras. I wrote, wrongly, that they deployed 315, which is actually the number of DEPLOYMENTS. I apologize for screwing that up. Each deployment lasted 5 days and generated about 23,000 images. These could be viewed like a movie, Hill says, so it took about 45 minutes to watch a deployment.

And as for the audience: The talks were part of Session 8B, "Red-cockaded and Ivory-billed Woodpeckers," which took place 1:30-3 Saturday afternoon in a stadium-style lecture hall that seats (I'm guessing) 200-300. Three other sessions and a symposium (on the genetics of lekking) took place at the same time. The woodpecker session was divided into six 15-minute slots. The first was about the RCWO. Hill went second, Rolek third. The fourth was about Pileated Woodpecker breeding ecology, the fifth about designing and implementing a region-wide search for the IBWO. The final slot was vacant.

Attendance at the first talk was sparse. As it ended, a wave of people came in, filling every seat (or just about) for Hill's and Rolek's presentations. As soon as Rolek finished, a fair number, about half, I'd say, left. This sort of coming and going is routine at meetings such as this; what's uncommon is to see a room so full. There was obviously lots of interest. The schedule didn't permit questions immediately after each presentation, but Hill and the team stayed to take questions in the vacant sixth time slot. About half were about the fifth presentation. None were hostile.


Wow, same old, same old. They do need to come up with some new excuses--these ones are getting a bit old, but some do deserve comment:
-Bird too shy, always on other side of tree. (Even from the 315 automatic cameras?)

Oh, this might be a new one, but it may be just a variation of an old one:
-Duck wings can make double-knocks, but these double knocks must be Ivory-bills, because we know there are no puddle ducks in the area. (Didn't they say that about Blue Jays and kent calls?) Come on, how do they know there are no puddle ducks in the area. None? In a Florida swamp in winter? Did they put up a fence to keep them out? I thought the area was so remote and hard of access that it contains all sorts of mysteries, such as 12 pairs of IBWO and a wandering Florida panther. No wandering ducks?
See The Drinking Bird's post for some numbers:

I do think they are on to something. I'm going to stop "birding" or "birdwatching" and just go out "bird detecting"--this is going to be really good for my life list.


"Was it an Ivory-bill? I don’t know."

It wasn't an ivory bill. It's extinct.

Now you know.

That was easy, wasn't it?

Every second spent analyzing that stupid photo is a second that could be used trying to save an animal, plant or environment that is endangered and actually exists.


Thanks for the report. Can you write about the audience at Hill's and Rolek's presentations, their number, reactions, questions, and so forth? Many of us wonder how the AOU takes the Hill-Rolek show.


just so as not to confuse folks, the video and Rolek sighting are from May 19, 2006, NOT 2007, as written above.


Someone on ID Frontiers, in one of the endless discussions of the Luneau video, posted this quote: "I wouldn't have seen it if I hadn't believed it."

Still nothing concrete or credible. Research and conservation dollars are too precious to keep focused on these searches. If they are part of some other more pressing project, fine. But I think it's time to move along.

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