A faded bird may survive, or it may not. The video is full of grain.


If there is a new hope, it is hazy. What’s certain: The rollercoaster story of the ivory-billed woodpecker, a majestic bird punctuated by a string of disputed rediscoveries, is going strong.

The latest development is an article published Thursday in the journal Ecology and Evolution showing reports of sightings, audio recordings, camera-tracking images and drone video. Collected over the past decade in the swamp forest of Louisiana, the exact site that was deleted to protect the birds, the authors write that the evidence points to the “sporadic but frequent presence” of birds that look and act like ivory-billed woodpeckers.

But are they?

Stephen C. said: Research at the National Aviary, a nonprofit avian zoo in Pittsburgh that helps lead a program that searches for the species.

But Dr. Latta admits there is no single definitive evidence, and the study has been carefully edited with words like “supposed” and “possible.”

In herein lies the problem. as one expert Written during a previous Ivory Bill tour: “The body of evidence is only as strong as the single strongest piece – ten cups of weak coffee does not make a pot of strong coffee.”

This time, two experts who were skeptical of previous sightings said they were still convinced.

“The problem is, the video is so bad,” said Chris Elphick, a professor of conservation biology at the University of Connecticut who studies birds. Red-headed woodpeckers, among other species, can look like ivory bills from a distance or from certain angles. Light can play games with the eyes. It’s easy to misunderstand the sound.

“Honestly, I don’t think that’s changing much,” he said. “I wish I was wrong.”

The agency has not commented on overseas studies but is working on a final decision, which is expected later this year, spokeswoman Christine Schuldiz said.

According to the authors of the new study, removing federal protections would be bad for any remaining ivory bills. But other scientists say there is a high price to keep them on the endangered species list.

“Whether limited federal protection money should be spent on chasing this ghost, rather than saving other truly endangered species and habitats, is a vital issue,” said Richard O. Broome, professor of ornithology at Yale University.

Ivory bills declined sharply as Americans logged their habitat and the ancient swamp forests of the Southeast. Few remained by the 1930s, but a scientific expedition discovered a nest in Louisiana, in one of the largest expanses of habitat remaining. The land, called the Singer Tract, was leased for logging. Preservation groups tried to buy the rights, but the company refused to sell. The last widely accepted sighting of an ivory bill in the United States was in 1944, where a lone female was seen at her perch with the woods around her cleared.

Since then, the alleged sightings have sparked joy and backlash. One, in 1967, was It ushered in the front page of The New York Times. Twenty years later, another species in Cuba, where it may or may not be clinging to a subspecies or similar species, It is also reported on the front page. in 2002, Louisiana researchers They thought they had captured Ivory Paper’s distinctive double-rap sound, but it was analyzed by a computer I decided it would be a distant gunshot sound. A reported sighting in Arkansas in 2004 led to an attack paper in science And bird tourism disturbance, but this evidence was barbs.

For Dr. Elphick, an ornithologist and scientist, one of the most telling results is what didn’t come out of much effort: one clear picture.

“There are incredibly rare birds that live in the central Amazon and people can get good recognizable photos,” said Dr. Elphick. However, people have spent hundreds of thousands of hours trying to find and photograph ivory-billed woodpeckers in the United States. If there really are residents there, it’s inconceivable to me that no one could get a good picture.”

But Dr. Latta, a co-author of the study, insisted he had clearly seen one with his own eyes. He was in the field in 2019 setting up scoring units, and figured he had spooked the bird. As she flew away, he got a close and unobstructed view of her signature markings.

d said “It was because I had this opportunity and I felt this responsibility to establish for the rest of the world, or at least the conservation world, that this bird really did exist.”


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