Re: Ultimate Ticks and Ivory-billed Woodpeckers

To: "Paul Coddington" <>, <>
Subject: Re: Ultimate Ticks and Ivory-billed Woodpeckers
From: "Ricki Coughlan" <>
Date: Sat, 25 Feb 2006 06:54:12 +1100
Hi Paul
It's a bit difficult for me to continue to contribute to this thread when most of my postings are not getting up. As for your rebuttal of my use of the term "most" I disagree with you. I've been following this matter closely and certainly most experts are not satisfied that we should be getting too excited yet. 
I will say that this delving into the minutiae appears something like a bunch of tickers trying to turn a fleeting sighting into a rarity which they hope that it will be. Or, if you like, it's almost like the "Bigfoot" images of the seventies and eighties and the endless analysis we were subjected to back then.
Having said that, some of what this group are saying does look good and they might be onto something. We all surely hope that they are. However, remember that these people are attracting, and hope to attract more, big conservation funds on the basis of a second or two of footage of a distant bird as it flew off through a fairly dense forest - a bird which closely resembles another, which is not uncommon in those same woods. All this was shot out of the corner of a lens from a wobbling canoe by a pretty basic camera. These people also have absolutely no other acceptable evidence of the birds' continued existance.
In my books, the evidence doesn't yet justify the funnelling of too much money away from very pressing conservation issues elsewhere and conservation funding is very scant under the current administration in the US.
As a graphic designer and web developer I can assure you that you can make anything look very sexy and believable on the internet, but it doesn't amount to truth. What these folk have put up online is not a properly referenced, refereed or published set of data and therefore has no further substance or authority than either yours or my maunderings on the subject here on Birding-Aus.
You can read a very balanced view of this at the following link: It's an item in The Auk and it pretty well sums things up.
Ricki Coughlan
Sydney, Australia
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