The Ivory-billed debate
Next, he examines in fine detail the plumage features detectable in the bird shown in the Luneau video (the one that Fitzpatrick et al. claim shows an Ivory-billed Woodpecker, Campephilus principalis), compares them to the features one would expect to see in Ivory-billed and Pileated (Dryocopus pileatus) woodpeckers, and concludes that “it is almost certainly a normal Pileated Woodpecker.”
He then examines the wingbeat frequency of the bird in the Luneau video, compares it to those of the Pileated Woodpecker, and concludes:
Empirical evidence demonstrates that the bird in the Luneau video flaps at the same rate as a fleeing Pileated Woodpecker.Finally, he provides a video analysis of three Pileated Woodpeckers video-taped in a flight cage in Maine. His finding:
Several launch sequences were recorded confirming precise wing and tail movements that match the Luneau video. Deinterlaced video fields match precisely launch sequence from Arkansas in terms of timing of wing movement and reduced or blurred out black training edge to underwing. These launch mechanics were identical to free-flying Pileated Woodpeckers videotaped elsewhere in Maine.The Luneau video was the most persuasive evidence that Fitzpatrick et al. had to support their claim that at least one Ivory-billed Woodpecker was present in Arkansas in 2004. Bevier’s Website is still under construction and edits will continue, but it seems to me that his preliminary analysis has done considerable harm to the claims of Fitzpatrick et al. This is sure to elicit much additional public debate, one that will be interesting to follow in the weeks and months ahead. Will Fitzpatrick and others at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology respond to this challenge to their credibility?