Saturday, April 07, 2007

About that alleged 1966 Brown/Sanders sighting

Over the last 6+ decades, one of the "best" of all claimed U.S. Ivory-bill sightings was this one:
28 Aug 1966: Bedford P. Brown, Jr., and Jeffrey R. Sanders reported watching 2 Ivory-billed Woodpeckers scaling beetle-killed pines for 16 min along the fringes of Eglin Air Force Base in the Florida Panhandle (Dennis 1979).
Cyberthrush posted about the claimed sighting here, and on page 160 of his book, Jerome Jackson wrote:
Dennis searched the area and did not find the birds but considered the sighting valid.
On page 247 of his book, Geoff Hill writes:
...According to Ken Able, who was a prominent birder as well as ornithology professor at the time, Brown and Sanders were active birders in the Chicago area in the 1960s and 1970s. They nearly always birded together, and over a period of several years they reported a number of very rare birds around the Chicago area. Ultimately, these reports were shown to be fraudulent, Brown and Sanders confessed, and a long retraction of records appeared in the pages of Audubon Field Notes, the forerunner of North American Birds. The 1966 ivorybill sighting along the Yellow River occurred during the time of the incidents in Chicago.
Notes from a guy named "Ken Able" appear on Hill's website here. Able heard some toots in the forest last month and was moved to write:
...Could these calls have been made by a blue jay or something else other than an ivory-bill? Of course, anything is possible. Personally, I am convinced that they were made by an ivory-bill.
Update: A related post from BINAC is here.


Anonymous said...


"A guy named Ken Able" I believe refers to Dr. Kenneth P Able who is another one of those otherwise crazy ornithologists, apparently willing to trash his reputation over this extinct bird.

You know the type, they publish in low-rent journals like Nature, Journal of Experimental Biology, Animal Behavior, weird sounding German journals, not to mention mainline ornithological journals, and think they actually know how to identify birds by sight and sound. We skeptics of course know better. I believe he recently retired, perhaps he is senile.

If interested in seeing more on him:


Anonymous said...

"willing to trash his reputation over this extinct bird"

The reason there is no shortage of biologists willing to destroy their reputations is obvious.

Monetary Values:

Reputation: $0.00

Extinct Bird: Estimated to be at least $15 Million per year and rising.