Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Ivory-billed Woodpecker: Why all the secrecy?

So, at some point I will try to crystalize my thoughts on the Ivory-billed Woodpecker saga. The "controversy" is not yet over, as some have claimed, and there are still plenty of skeptics (try www.tomnelson.blogspot.com) who are not yet concinved.

And while I have tons of respect for everyone at Cornell (especially John Fitzpatrick, a former denizen of the Windy City), I have to say that they have not handled the post-announcement publicity very well. Cornell's failure to timely disseminate information has only fueled the rumors that have been spreading through the birding community for months.

I do still believe that there is at least one IBWO currently living in the swamps in Arkansas. But I am less certain of that than I was in the days immediately following the announcement. And that, in itself, is a testament to Cornell's failure to offer current and relevant information about the ongoing search, the audio evidence, additional bark scaling, etc. And, by the way, I'm still trying to understand why the audio evidence was not made public at the time of the announcement. How can Cornell justify supportingt the conclusions reached in the Science article by using evidence (the audio recordings, for example) that was not presented in that paper?

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