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I learned on NPR today that an establishment in Brinkley, Arkansas is 
offering an "Ivory-billed Woodpecker Haircut." It is a bit pricey at $25, 
but you get a lot for the money. The basic design of the haircut is somewhat 
like a Mohawk, except that it curves up into a crest in back. That is just 
the beginning. Different parts of the hair are tinted to resemble IBWO head 
plumage. There is a small white area just above the forehead. The crest 
itself is flaming red. There are black and white areas on each side. The 
overall effect makes the wearer look like a gigantic Lord God Bird with 
human arms, legs and torso.

The Brinkley hair styling establishment has already sold 50 IBWO haircuts. 
One recent recipients was a 77-year-old grandmother. Imagine how the Cornell 
researchers and volunteers must feel when, after a long day in a cold blind 
without seeing or hearing an IBWO, they return to Brinkley and find human 
IBWO's, including grandmothers, in the cafes and at the supermarket.

I predict that the folks in Brinkley will become increasingly sophisticated 
at marketing the IBWO haircut as time goes on. For example, someone is bound 
to tell the proprietor that female IBWOs have black crests. As soon as she 
figures that out, she will probably offer a "grandmother special" with a 
black crest for only $24.99.  But prices are bound to rise and fall with the 
season. NPR has given this new product national exposure. I predict a price 
rise to $34.99, or even higher, by February. It will probably go back to 
$9.99, or even lower, in April or May when the winter IBWO searching season 
stops.

The immanence of styling and pricing changes poses a dilemma for Missouri 
birders who might wish to go to Brinkley for an IBWO haircut. Do you go now 
to avoid a price rise or wait until spring when it is bound to fall even 
lower?  If you are a female Missouri birder, do you wait for the black 
crested model to appear at the possible risk of a large price rise if the 
IBWO haircut becomes a national fad?

Given the costs of travel to and from Brinkley, the price of the haircut is 
probably incidental. Nevertheless, I am proposing a strategy for ASM 
members. I really think the best time and place to go public with a new IBWO 
haircut is the ASM spring meeting. (Picture Edge Wade, Susan Gustafson and 
Susan Hazelwood with black crests and Patrick Harrison, Brad Jacobs and Jim 
Zellmer with red crests. It would be a lively event!)  So wait until 
mid-April and get one for $9.99. This strategy has another, very significant 
advantage. If the Cornell team and volunteers do not get some good video of 
an IBWO this winter, demand for the IBWO haircut may fall off sharply. In 
that event, you may wish to wait to see whether the 2006-2007 winter 
searching produces a good photo/video of an IBWO before wearing an IBWO 
haircut at all.


Bob Fisher
Independence, Missouri
[log in to unmask] 

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