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I have the greatest respect for Kenn Kaufman, he is a outstanding birder and leader.  However, I am not sure that I follow his logic.  As for the video, it is admittedly very poor, but I have seen quite a few Pileated Woodpeckers fly away in the woods and none of them looked anything like the bird in the picture.  If you told me it was a pterodactyl rather than an Ivory-billed I might have some doubts, but I just cannot make that bird look like a Pileated.
As for the people who are opposed to the identification, it is important to remember that the video is only supporting evidence.  The primary identification was done by experienced observers who saw the bird in life.  I feel that in all the effort being put into analyzing a video of very poor quality, this basic fact appears to have been overlooked.  While I am sure that many of the people opposing the identification have valid concerns there also appears to me to be a strong element of professional jealousy involved.   I have seen other examples of this in recent years in the orthinological literature, where papers have attacked an authors veracity rather than his actual results.  While scientific fraud is unfortunately not unknown, there seem to be little cause for it in a field like ornithology.  
Finally as to Kenn's point about the Powerful Woodpecker he seems to be arguing inconsistently.  On the one had is saying how difficult it was to find this bird and then how easy it should be to find Ivory-billed.  The observations about Peterson at the Singer tract are irrelevant.  That area is well known to have been prime habitat with a relatively large population that has habituated to humans.  In addition, they may simply have been lucky to get the bird so quickly.
Until a good picture is obtained the issue of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker's continued existence cannot be considered proven, but the effort put into trying to debunk it is a waste of effort and seems to me to be driven by motives other than scientific rigor.

David Becher
Saint Louis 
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Chris Hobbs<mailto:[log in to unmask]> 
  To: [log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]> 
  Sent: Thursday, March 16, 2006 11:04 AM
  Subject: Campephilus woodpeckers


  Thought I'd share this interesting note from Kenn Kaufman that was posted yesterday on the Ohio bird list:

  Chris Hobbs
  [log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>


  Kenn writes:

  The reported rediscovery of Ivory-billed Woodpeckers in Arkansas has been mentioned on ohio-birds many times over the last 11 months, which suggests that this is an acceptable topic for this forum.

  Last month in Ecuador we caught up with a related species, the Powerful Woodpecker (Campephilus pollens). I'd missed it on previous trips to South America -- not surprisingly, since it's rather rare. In The Birds of Ecuador, Vol. 1, Robert Ridgely says that it's "rare to uncommon and perhaps local." In Vol. 2, he expands on this to say that its habits are "similar to other Campephilus woodpeckers, though Powerful's home range seems exceptionally large and as a result the species is encountered only infrequently." We found a family group in forest on the east slope. The birds were wary, as one would expect with a large woodpecker, and they were in dense forest, but we were able to follow them at a respectful distance for a long time, and Kim even got decent photos with her small digital camera.

  The encounter got me to thinking about our North American species of Campephilus, and I went back and reread Roger Tory Peterson's account of seeing the Ivory-bill in 1942. (This was in RTP's wonderful book, Birds Over America, published in 1948.) He had sought the bird in South Carolina on the basis of rumors there in the 1930s, but finally he went to the Singer Tract in Louisiana, the last place where there were still known to be any living Ivory-bills (two adult females had been seen there a few months earlier). The Singer Tract was big, 80,000 acres, and there were no takeouts such as roost sites, so Peterson and his companions knew it wouldn't be easy. It wasn't: it took them a whole day and a half to find the birds. Once they found them, though, they were able to follow them for almost an hour.

  Now, about these freakishly elusive, supernaturally un-photographable birds in Arkansas... Once you look at the only "proof," the famous four-second video, and realize that it actually shows a Pileated Woodpecker, you have to wonder: What's really going on there?

  Kenn Kaufman

  Rocky Ridge, Ohio

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