Feeds

Twitchers in a flap over elusive pecker

'Very rare' bird actually extinct all along?

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

It was with great fanfare last summer that the US Fish and Wildlife service trumpeted the rediscovery of an apparently 'extinct' species: the ivory-billed woodpecker. Until a Cornell team reported the sighting in a Arkansas swamp, the iconic bird had not been spotted for more than 60 years.

The revelation was the hottest news to hit the bird watching community in years, and the administration moved quickly to appoint a dedicated 'recovery team'. They threw $10m at the tenuous grip on existence the species happily seemed to retain.

But now, almost a year on with no further sightings, others are casting aspersions on the original Science identification.

Florida ornithologist and woodpecker expert Jerome Jackson has published criticisms in the journal The Auk, saying the blurry video the Cornell researchers took is inconclusive. He says it could just as easily show the related pileated woodpecker.

Despite the doubts, President Bush recently requested a further $2.1m to bolster the hunt.

If confirmed, woodpecker could be a tourism bonanza for the local economy, a fact not lost on the organisers of the recent "Call of the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker Celebration" in the small town of Brinkley. The February event offered "speakers and vendors with items you might be interested in such as T-shirts, field glasses, books, paintings, posters, prints and more."

Sadly for the Arkansas Chambers of Commerce, it seems this 'Lazarus' bird may have been an ex-pecker all along. A pessimistic Jackson told New Scientist: "They might not be visible on two or three trips or 50 hours of observation, but now we're talking about thousands of hours by the Cornell people alone. In my opinion, we should have had something by now."

Judge the video for yourself here (.mov file). ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000
Through 25 per cent but more is needed: Get your UNIQUE rewards!
LOHAN tunes into ultra long range radio
And verily, Vultures shall speak status unto distant receivers
EOS, Lockheed to track space junk from Oz
WA facility gets laser-eyes out of the fog
Volcanic eruption in Iceland triggers CODE RED aviation warning
Lava-spitting Bárðarbunga prompts action from Met Office
NASA to reformat Opportunity rover's memory from 125 million miles away
Interplanetary admins will back up data and get to work
Major cyber attack hits Norwegian oil industry
Statoil, the gas giant behind the Scandie social miracle, targeted
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?