Ivory-billed Woodpecker Debate Gets Ugly...and Personal
The ornithological and birding communities benefit directly from this public rift in that Collins has chosen to make his long-anticipated manuscript—replete with an abundance of in-flight video footage of large woodpeckers—available online (here). From the Introduction [.pdf]:
Videos were obtained during three encounters in which key field marks consistent with the Ivory-billed Woodpecker were observed, including footage of a cruising flight, two takeoffs into level flight, a short flight, a swooping takeoff, and a swooping landing. The flight mechanics of the birds in these videos are consistent with Ivory-billed Woodpeckers in terms of historical accounts, physiology, and empirical and physics-based models for flap rate. Various additional characteristics of the birds in the videos are consistent with Ivory-billed Woodpeckers, including apparent field marks, a massive bill, a large crest, and an exaggerated leaned-back posture while perched.Rest assured that Collins’s text and accompanying videos will be dissected and discussed on blogs and in various online forums for months to come.
Last revised: 3/23/09.