Ivory-billed Woodpecker (finally) officially declared extinct in US

This is incredibly premature. Possible video evidence was obtained in 2013 and the sightings have kept rolling in.

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The public comment period ends November 29th, so they only have 2 months to come up with an argument


I read about those swamps each time I read about this species, how possible it is for such big bird just hide there to be not only not seen, but also not heard?


They have been seen and heard recently. These birds are extremely wary of humans, making obtaining definitive video/photos extremely difficult. No one has ever collected video or photos of this species without the location of an active nest or roost.

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In my personal opinion, there is one way to confirm or deny its existence; eDNA. If a ivorybill specimen exists in good enough condition that proper DNA can be extracted, then the waters of the swamps can be analyzed for any DNA that matches the ivorybill DNA.


The USFWS proposal to declare these species extinct is based on the best available scientific information at the time (a rationale the agency very often uses in decision making) and the need to allocate limited resources towards species that are known to still exist and need help to persist and recover. As in the case of the Black-footed Ferret, if new information indicates a species is still extant, the decision can be reversed. The proposal is also a means to gather additional info during the comment period that might indicate the declaration of extinct to be premature.


Maybe some of you bought this T-shirt back in about 2005. I did and still have it!


Because they’re not there.

Rather than retype and since that topic is locked.


I knew some of the ornithologists involved in trying to prove that the evidence they had gathered was from an Ivory-billed Woodpecker, was at an ornithology conference where the keynote address was an attempt to make that case. I was not impressed, and didn’t hear anyone else at the conference say they had been convinced. The evidence came down to a few frames of a very blurry video that could easily have been of a pileated, and a small number of remote recordings with sounds that they interpreted as the distinctive knocking of an ivory-bill, but given the size of the database they were searching could easily have been random noise or an atypical sound made by a more common animal or even a human. They brought a huge number of people who wanted to believe (many of them excellent birders) in to try to get evidence but ended up with nothing worth mentioning. I don’t doubt their sincerity, but I agree they were heavily hope-influenced.


what about eskimo curlew? And what about the kent calls?

The Eskimo Curlew (U.S. Endangered) was recently evaluated by the USFWS in a process under the Endangered Species Act called a five-year status review that was initiated and completed in 2016. The finding: “our review of the status of the Eskimo curlew does not support a change in classification. Due to the challenges associated with determining extinction, we do not think it is advisable to declare the species extinct, and recommend that the Eskimo curlew retains its current listing status of endangered because it remains in danger of extinction throughout its range.”

I don’t know how much effort went into looking for the ferret before the declaration it was extinct, but it is safe to say it was a fraction of the effort, both direct, and indirect (general birding and even general ecological studies, feeders being up, park rangers and ecologists constantly monitoring and surveying their areas etc) that has gone into looking for the Ivory-billed.

Here is a link to the video that got everyone so excited in 2005:

If the species did survive, I can imagine that the survivors were ones with a natural aversion to humans and that trait got passed down through the generations. I can also imagine that such a trait could lead them to abandon a territory (and nestlings) were they sensed humans. Thus, after a “sighting”, the birds might abandon the area and the follow-up researchers’ presence would reinforce that aversion to the area. This is why I suspect it is better for the species (if existing) if people stop looking for them and just let them be in their pockets habitat . Maybe it’s better news that there are no sightings. Just a $.02 theory.

Likely true that the ferret did not get as much survey effort as the IBWO. It was (and is) a very difficult animal to look for in its own way … nocturnal, spends much of time in prairie dog burrows, occurs at low densities, with nearly all native populations already decimated by disease and prairie dog poisoning by the mid-20th century. I’ve done spotlighting surveys of an existing reintroduced population of ferrets and it can take a lot of effort to find them, even when you know they’re there. And there were a lot of acres of prairie dog towns to search back in the 1970s-1980s. If a ferret had not been killed by a ranch dog and left on the back step of its owner’s house, the last population might not have been discovered and the species would likely now be extinct.

I don’t understand why Eskimo Curlew and Bachman’s Warbler are not classified as extinct. If they were still alive birders would see them during migration.

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Is also on the list of 23 species being updated to an extinct classification by this update.

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There have been fossilized bones identified as the species found in Ontario, but it is impossible to determine if those were of birds that died in Ontario, or were traded as part of First Nations trading networks.


I’m fortunate enough to live a few minutes away from one of the sites where the Trumpeters are fed through the winter which means being able to see upwards of a hundred of them at that time. More importantly, there are starting to be a few local breeding pairs locally here too, which is great to see.


The Carolina Parakeet has an interesting relationship with Ontario.

Rosemary Prevec reported Carolina Parakeet bones at the Calvert site near London in 1984, but the consensus seems to be that they arrived there via trade networks.

In 1982, Walter A. Kenyon described a parrot effigy pipe from an Attawandaron site near modern day Grimsby.

In October 1615 near what is modern day Picton or Kingston, Samuel de Champlain described the following bird in his journals: “When we first went out hunting I penetrated so far into the woods in pursuit of a certain bird which seemed to be peculiar, with a beak almost like that of a parrot, as big as a hen, yellow all over, except for its red head and
blue wings”. Some historians have speculated that this may have been a vagrant Carolina Parakeet.

Additionally, there was one unconfirmed sighting in London Ontario (Saunder, 1933), which is impossible to prove the veracity of.


Sure, I saw it, but it doesn’t seem people really believe it’s the one.

Unless I’m missing something, it appears that they removed the video; the link takes you to the All About Birds page for them where all of the videos and photos are from the 1930’s.

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