Ivory-Billed Skeptics

Though respected institutions such as the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Yale University have come out in support of the evidence of the existence of the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker, many in the ornithology community remain doubtful that the bird is a true lazarus species. Here are some dissenting opinions:

  • The Need for Stronger Evidence: David Steadman, the Curator of Ornithology for the University of Florida'a Museum of Natural History, believes that the evidence that has been uncovered to this point is insufficient to make a determination that the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker does definitively remain in existence today. Hear Steadman's position on the IBW by clicking here.(49 second Windows Media file).
  • Bill Me Later: In March of this year, a research team headed by ornithologist and famed birding author David Sibley released findings in the journal Science that the video shot in Arkansas by David Luneau (right), supposedly of an IBW perched on a tree and flying, was actually film of a pileated woodpecker. An article in The Auk by scientist Jerome Jackson states a similar position.
  • Community divided: Steadman says that the scientific community is divided over the evidence that has been gathered to this point. He says the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker dilemma has become the perfect scientific debate. (Click here(1 minute, 18 second Windows Media file) to hear his comments.
Mark Godfrey/The Nature Conservancy
University of Arkansas professor David Luneau searches for Ivory-Billed Woodpeckers from his canoe in the Cache River National Wildlife Refuge, Arkansas. March 2005.

David Luneau
Here is a still from University of Arkansas professor David Luneau's video purportedly of an Ivory-Billed Woodpecker in flight. Luneau allowed the use of this still from his video, but did not grant rights to show the video.