Saturday, March 18, 2006

Ivory-bill or Pileated Woodpecker??

Experts are still debating as to whether or not the M. David Luneau Jr. video taken at the Cache River National Wildlife Refuge in Arkansas, on 25 April 2004 is for sure an Ivory-billed Woodpecker. David Sibley, a renowned and respected birder who published The Sibley Guide to Birds, along with 3 ornithologists are debating the topic with experts from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in two seperate articles published in the March 17, 2006 issue of Science. Sibley and others feel that it is a pileated woodpecker and not an Ivory-bill in flight and that "the video evidence does not demonstrate that the species persists in the United States". Scientists from Cornell believe it to be an ivory-bill in the video and say claims made that it is a pileated "are based on misrepresentations of a pileated's underwing pattern, interpretation of video artifacts as plumage pattern, and inacurate models of takeoff and flight behavior". Experts on both sides, people who really know birds....so who do you believe? I continue to hope that the 14 member Cornell Lab team that is at this time in the area where this video was taken will come up with more evidence that the ivory-bill still exists. Until then all we can do is wait. To see a very extensive study of the sighting and the video by Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology go here.

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