Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Harvard astrophysicist performs calculations: IBWO in Arkansas will never be found!

So, there is plenty of new info on the Ivory-billed Woodpecker in the newest issue of North American Birds, including additional details on some of the sightings. It is a must-read for anyone who is interested in this subject. Anyway, I will be commenting on a few other interesting things in that issue later.

In the meantime, I thought this was fun: The folks at apparently Cornell invited Tim Spahr, a Harvard astrophysicist who specializes in asteroid movements and the calcucation of rare events, to help with the search in Arkansas. Tim created an algorithm based on Tanner's observations and on the habitat at Bayou de View in Arkansas. His conclusion:

"By [Spahr's] calculcations, a single Ivory-billed Woodpecker occupying that area
could manage to avoid detection by 20 observers indefinitely!"

That's pretty cool, we've got a Harvard astrophysicist calculating the probability of rare bird sightings! Hey Tim, if you're reading this, what are the chances that I will see White-eared Hummingbird in Illinois before I die?

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