From the post and timing you are probably thinking that I will write about the whole ivory-billed woodpecker validity controversy. Well, I've got something much better, someone has written a song about the ivory-bill. If you're a fan of the soundtrack to The Last Unicorn or the animated version of The Hobbit then you will probably enjoy a song by Sufjan Stevens called The Lord God Bird now available for download exclusively at the NPR website.
It's interesting to see the controversy being played out in major newspapers. Some birders are taking the nay saying over the ivory-bill very personally, but many of us have experienced a questionable sighting with various state records committees. This is nothing new to birders and listers, except the questioning is on a national scale.
Why would people question the likes of John Fitzpatrick of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology? The argument could be made that someone like him wouldn't put his reputation on the line because too much would be at stake. The counter argument would be look at all the increased money Cornell will get from excited folks donating to become members to Cornell. I have heard researchers criticize some conservation organizations for using certain bird species as a way of making money through donations to their organization. Another possibility could be sour grapes over who was invited in the secret search of the ivory-bill and who was not. There are only so many people who could go look for the ivory-bill and keep it secret. Not to mention that politics run rampant in any field, birding being no exception.
The main reason(and I think the mostly likely reason) is that questions should always be asked in science. Let's face it, so far the only published footage is not what we hoped it would be and I see no problem asking questions if that really was an ivory-bill or not. Birders do it constantly, think about how many times someone has asked, "Was that a Cooper's hawk or a sharp-shinned hawk?" or "Was that a curved-billed thrasher or a Bendire's thrasher?"
Personally, I believe more and better footage will come, and that the most important thing that the very slight ivory-billed woodpecker sighting has brought us at this point is much needed hope.
On the off chance you have missed the ivory-billed articles these two break it down. I believe the New York Times require a free subscription.