Wednesday, April 11, 2007

My Ivory Bill Sub

Afternoon Update: I deleted the nonshowing pics from this post and reposted them above, sans text.
Sorry for the day long pictureless post. I didn't know ... can't check Pure Florida from work ... it's too subversive and is blocked by our filtering system ;)

I don't really believe the Ivory-Billed wood pecker still exists in the USA. I'm happy for you if you do, but I need more than the word of people who claim to have seen it. Especially if proving it still exists is their lifelong passion. I want some hard evidence, no bigfoot style fuzzy pictures and no verbal descriptions.

That's just me ... Mr. Skeptical.

Still, I hope I'm wrong and those who claim to have seen or heard it are correct.

In the meantime, I have my Pileateds around the place to remind me of their missing cousin and of the effects of losing old growth forests. This one was working hard on an oak I posted about a week or so ago. It had lost a massive branch and opened an inviting cavity in the trunk.

I spent 15 minutes creeping through dry crunchy oak leaves to get close to this bird, took 12 photos and wound up with 2 that I would dare share with you. Delete, delete, delete ...
SOP.
The pileated would stop every so often and turn and place his head close to the bark ... listening for prey? It was a pattern, ear to the tree trunk, peck, peck, peck, ear to the tree, peck, peck, peck ...
I can picture some dedicated ornithologist out there in Arkansas doing something similar, wading through bottomland swamps, stopping every so often to listen for the call of a bird that may only exist in memory and museum.
But maybe ...

16 comments:

Mark said...

I regret to say that I agree, the ivory bill is probably gone. The pileated is such a majestic bird, I wish I could have seen an ivory bill.

Doug Taron said...

I'm a biologist. I'm supposed to take the coldly rational, skeptical, scientific approach to things. But I want the ivory billed sightings to be real. Event though I think you are probably right. Why do I feel like a kid who's having his first suspicions about Santa?

Alan said...

Blogger isn't cooperating this morning in letting me see your pictures.

Fortunately I see Pileateds fairly often around here. I leave my standing deadwood where ever I can so there's usually a fair number of woodpeckers about. Haven't see a Redheaded yet this year though...

.....Alan.

Laura said...

Here's a good article that seem to support your theory!

I don't know how to type in a hyperlink in the comment section to shorten the address, sorry. I hope you or your readers enjoy the link, however!

http://www.sptimes.com/2007/03/03/Floridian/A_bird_worthy_of_Melv.shtml

Laura said...

If it doesn't show up, do a google search for the St. Petersburg Times and Ivory Billed Woodpecker.

Also, the pileated woodpecker wrecked havoc on the chimney on our house in North Florida. I never did figure out a way to stop him.

robin andrea said...

Dang, your pileated pics are not showing up. We were watching a pileated on Sunday. It was displaying the same behavior as yours. I have the photos of it with its ear pressed to the wood. It did not occur to me that it could have listening for insects. That's an excellent observation.

I tend to agree with you about the Ivory-billed. It's a shame, and I hope we're both wrong.

Hal at Ranch Ramblins said...

Maybe your pileated woodpecker pictures aren't appearing because you actually shot pictures of an Ivory-billed woodpecker ;)

Floridacracker said...

I'm sorry folks,
I posted this morning without checking to see if it published. Blogger does seem strange today, very slow loading and of course the missing pics!
I have posted them above.

misti said...

I did read the recent book regarding the "discovery". I found it enthralling and I really wanted to believe. I don't doubt that it is possible. But even so, with the rate of development it would be impossible for a large population to be around again. :(

Dr. Know said...

Great pix. We have a few Pileateds that still live around our small patch of woods which is surrounded by miles of blight and overdevelopment. Third picture down:

http://gonelikethewind.blogspot.com/2007/04/more-spring.html

We also have a few Red-bellied, Downey, and Yellow Bellied Sapsuckers as well. I don't have much faith that they will continue to visit, however, as their habitat is diminishing quite rapidly.

ImagineMel said...

there's more than one kind??

threecollie said...

Ha, our school won't allow kids on yours or mine either...dangerous stuff here!
Terrific pictures! I am in awe.

Cathy said...

I know birders who've tried twice to get a glimpse of the holy grail.
They believe.
Love your pictures - a bird in the hand(held camera) is worth . . .

Floridacracker said...

Mark,
The time gap between sitings is what makes me so dubious.

Doug,
I want it too and what's this about Santa?

Alan,
For me, the redhead is the holy grail. I see a lot of them in Bronson, but none out here in the deep woods.

Laura,
We have a western red cedar house and they have never bothered us for more than an exploratory tap.
Weird.
Thanks for the link!

Robin,
Sometimes it's good to be wrong. We can hope. Apparently Blogger was doing some work on the webalbum site where all blogged photos go... that may have been it.

Hal,
Maybe if I touch them up with Adobee a little ...




Misti,
Good point. I haven't given up hope. I was just saying on something like this I need the smoking gun evidence. Maybe Cuba still has some.


Dr. Know,
That's a good list of woodies. I think I have similar guys here.

Mel,
YOU live in redhead central.

ThreeCollie,
Our school won't even let a teacher load a printer driver. We have to call for the tech specialist. Talk about arrrrrghhh.

Cathy,
It's good to believe. I hope. Call me "Doubting FC" .

ImagineMel said...

I was just joshin' ya!

I have lovely holes all around the trunk of my sycamore tree. I've intended to ask you if a woodpecker could have done that. It's very uniform and starts at almost the ground. I don't know woodpecker habits (I see all you science people out there saying, "well DUH!")so I couldn't diagnose. If it's insects I just wish they'd move to the 50 million rainshower trees instead!

Floridacracker said...

Mel,
If small, they are probably sapsucker holes.