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Thursday, March 15, 2007

More bad news for Ivory-billed Woodpecker searchers

A new study with more evidence that the famed video of a bird in Arkansas is probably not an Ivory-billed Woodpecker (read it here).

Here's the abstract:
Background: The apparent rediscovery of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker Campephilus principalis in Arkansas, USA, previously feared extinct, was supported by video evidence of a single bird in flight (Fitzpatrick et al, Science 2005, 308:1460-1462). Plumage patterns and wingbeat frequency of the putative Ivory-billed Woodpecker were said to be incompatible with the only possible confusion species native to the area, the Pileated Woodpecker Dryocopus pileatus.

Results: New video analysis of Pileated Woodpeckers in escape flights comparable to that of the putative Ivory-billed Woodpecker filmed in Arkansas shows that Pileated Woodpeckers can display a wingbeat frequency equivalent to that of the Arkansas bird during escape flight. The critical frames from the Arkansas video that were used to identify the bird as an Ivory-billed Woodpecker are shown to be equally, or more, compatible with the Pileated Woodpecker.

Conclusions: The identification of the bird filmed in Arkansas in April 2004 as an Ivory-billed Woodpecker is best regarded as unsafe. The similarities between the Arkansas bird and known Pileated Woodpeckers suggest that it was most likely a Pileated Woodpecker.


Bill Pulliam said...

I am SO worn out by reading people who should know better making the same dumb mistakes in interpreting that video over and over again. Listen -- that bird shows black leading edges on the underwing as often as it shows black trailing edges, ergo apparent black edges are best interpreted as artifacts not coloration. And there is so much more clear difference in that bird's flight mechanics from those of any as-yet-documented pileated than just the stupid wingbeat rate. Go to my blog if you wonder what I am babbling about.


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Larry said...

I would just like to see an IBWP to be sure. Until then, I am going to continue watching Pileated Woodpeckers because I know that they exist.They are great birds in their own right and we should appreciate them while we can.

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