Posted by: Loren Coleman on March 16th, 2007
You knew it was going to happen. The debate about the ivory-billed woodpecker’s re-discovery has boiled over to the frame by frame analyses, con and pro, of the 2004 Arkansas video on a level comparable to that we’ve seen with the Patterson-Gimlin Bigfoot footage.
In the journal BMC Biology on March 13, 2007, the latest is a discussion of the frame by frame analysis of what has become known as the Luneau video by a Scottish scientist Martin Collinson. Collinson just is not buying the fact that the ivory-billed woodpecker has been found. He thinks the video is of another similar, but smaller woodpecker. Meanwhile, others are calling Collinson’s study faulted because the ivory-billed woodpecker’s wing-beats are faster.
The last confirmed sighting of the ivory-billed woodpecker in North America was in 1944. Researchers believed the species was extinct until 2004, when a kayaker is said to have spotted one in eastern Arkansas. Since then, there have been several sightings, and a videotape shot by David Luneau, an electronics professor at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, was released.AP/Science, March 15, 2007
Now the fallout begins. It is the Great Luneau Video Debate.
The bird in the Arkansas video is best regarded as not fully identified, and is probably a pileated woodpecker. – Martin Collinson, geneticist, University of Aberdeen, Scotland
The Luneau video is inconsistent in every respect with pileated woodpecker. We have yet to see even a single video of pileated woodpecker that matches the (Arkansas) video. Show us one and I’ll change my mind. Nobody can do it.John Fitzpatrick, director, Cornell University’s Laboratory of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York