Thursday, May 19, 2005

IBWO: Special Announcement

As most of you know, I closely followed the ivory-billed woodpecker rediscovery on my blog. I managed, through my special magic and through my professional connections, to locate behind-the-scenes messages sent by several members of the ivory-billed woodpecker search party and publish them here for all of you to read and enjoy.

Unknown to me, several book publishers noticed this drama on my blog. One of these publishers contacted me. On Friday, the day following the announced rediscovery of the bird, Taryn Roeder from Houghton Mifflin publishers emailed me to ask if I would like to interview Tim Gallagher, author of the book, The Grail Bird, and post that interview on my blog.

To say the least, I was excited. Very excited.

I attempted to write a "professional" sounding email reply since I am, after all, a scientist, first and foremost, and I was being given a tremendous opportunity to interview one of the people who was part of the biggest ornithological event in my lifetime. I am not sure if I succeeded in sounding professional, but Taryn and I worked out the specifics of an email interview with Tim. I am writing questions now and will email them to Tim on Monday morning. Those questions and Tim's answers will appear here for your reading pleasure, as soon as possible after Tim responds and I finish formatting his reply.

I am not being paid any money to do this interview, although I freely admit that my satisfaction and excitement are particularly gratifying. Taryn did send me three copies of Tim's book, hot off the presses. I gave one copy to my colleague, R. Moyle, who sent me van Remsen's behind-the-scenes email, and I will give another copy of the book to my former employer, who has generously helped me during my seemingly neverending un(der)employment by providing me access to their libraries and the internet, as well as 24/7 access to the building itself.

The third copy of the book, which I have finished reading once already, is mine, of course. It makes a fine addition to my private ornithological library, which is the envy of several of my colleagues. Even though I was not asked to do this, I plan to write a review of the book in the near future that will appear on my blog, too.

Because I know there is tremendous interest in the ivory-billed woodpecker and at least a few of my new "regular" readers are here because of this bird, I wish to share this upcoming interview with you, as I have done with the rediscovery. If any of you, dear readers, have questions that you would like to ask Tim Gallagher about the rediscovery of the ivory-billed woodpecker, feel free to send them to me.

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© 2004, 2005, 2006 by GrrlScientist

16 Peer Reviews:

Blogger James said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

9:52 AM  
Blogger James said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

9:53 AM  
Blogger James said...

Ok, let's see if I can do this WITHOUT messing it up (sorry for the deleted comments, which will be no more than the corrected comment you see below --- I didn't realize blogspot deleted it and then told the world you deleted something):

You're on a roll, keep it coming'! And congratulations, by the way!

9:56 AM  
Blogger Mike said...

What a fantastic opportunity, Hedwig! Nice scoop.

I've noticed that many individuals online are concerned that the ivory-bill is commanding a disproportionate level of attention and resources while other less charismatic species are still being ignored. Though I'm not worried about this at all, I wonder if Mr. Gallagher has any insight into what other at-risk species will benefit from IBW conservation efforts.

11:36 AM  
Blogger Bill said...

Bless you, Hedwig.

This bird is a near neighbor to me. It is as if the earth has opened up to release a captive of man's destuctive fury.

I am interested to know of the Grail book. The big bird is both a synecdoche of our worst nature and the best hope for our salvation. Perhaps civilization can finally embrace the aleatory source of poetry and music, the woods, and their avian incarnation. It is an awfully wild hope, which I suppose, is only fitting.

A very good book on the late history of the "swampeast" region in Missouri is "From Missouri" by Thad Snow. It makes no mention of IBWs but is about man and the clearing of swampland, economics and motivations. The book is a first hand record of pioneering land clearing and on into the times of the New Deal and the Farm administration. One quick take on the book's information is that the whole business of farming in the region has been largely unprofitable. The whole delta region is now a peneplain devoid of a single shrub. It really doesn't get sadder. Farmers are still barely making it if at all, in debt on huge combines that dwarf their nondescript yards and homes.

The name "delta" to describe the region is of interest to me. Apparently the Caribean Sea reached into Missouri quite recently. Perhaps with future ice cap melting the delta will soon return there.



PS there is nothing at my "blog". Just fiddling....

Bill

11:56 AM  
Blogger Rexroth's Daughter said...

Ah, Hedwig, we rejoice with you. This is such fine news. Can't wait to read the interview, and the book review. This acknowledgement of your skills and passion is long overdue, but hallelujah it has arrived. YAY!!!
I just reread this comment and noticed it has religious overtones. What's with the "rejoice" and "hallelujah" crap? OMG, I have no idea -- my apologies, how embarrassing : )

12:08 PM  
Anonymous Kristjan Wager said...

Congratulations. Sounds like a great opportunity.

1:46 PM  
Blogger Bill said...

Rexroth's Daughter apologizes for religious tone. Well, in my own comments I am totally over the top. Worship seems appropriate though in this area. Our tendencies to worship are perhaps well directed to the woods and birds. Why not? Who was the mystic Rabbi who declared birdsong to be the voice of God so many years ago? In Annie Dillard's recent book. Apologies if fervor unacceptable here...(smiley face)...

Bill

Bill

2:22 PM  
Blogger Tabor said...

I guess I'd like to know if he thinks there is a good breeding population or was this just a lucky siting of one bird in a tiny population?

Also, is there an effort underway (perhaps you birdera already know this), to expand habitat for this species?)

2:32 PM  
Blogger Alon Levy said...

Well, I can't think of any questions, and I wasn't following the rediscovery story very closely, but I'll read the interview and hope it goes very well.

6:55 AM  
Anonymous Trix said...

This is great! Can't wait!

9:08 AM  
Blogger latina marie said...

that's very kick ass. perhaps if i start posting more than vague references to my research on my blog, people will ask me to interview authors in the scintillating world of seagrass (no charismatic megafauna for me), sea urchins, and parrotfish. or perhaps it's a bit too soon for me to dream that way...i'm just starting my phd and am still reeling with excitement that my 1st manuscript has been accepted (with revisions) for publication...a manuscript dealing with research i completed as a lowly undergrad. anyway, enough about me. congrats.

11:16 AM  
Blogger GrrlScientist said...

Thanks everyone! I am glad to see that you are here to enjoy a wee bit of success on my part, too.

It is okay to write comments here that have religious overtones .. I have found that many people can only appreciate/understand/respect deeply moving experiences when they are described using religious themes, so I often use these terms to describe my feelings, too. I am not sure who the mystic was who said that birdsong was the voice of god, but .. I agree! If there is a god, she wears feathers and sings like a canyon wren or Western meadowlark or .. !

Latina Marie .. I have not really posted anything specific about my research here or anywhere, although I will do so after my papers start appearing in the press. I just write about what I love .. birds, science and nature!

By the way, I am still collecting your questions and will add them to my list .. who knows if Tim will answer them all, but I hope so!

6:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm curious to know how it was determined who would be on the large, secret search team; I'm especially wondering why Dr. Jerome Jackson, who has done extensive work on the IBWO, written a book about them, wrote the Birds of North America account on them, and participated in the Zeiss search, was not included or even told about the discovery.

1:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sorry to say it, but I'm put off mightily by the fact that announcement of the rediscovery of the Ivory-bill was delayed until a snappy logo was created, not just one but several websites were designed, a magazine article was prepared, (auto?) biographies were written, and, oh, yes, Tim Gallagher's book (and Terri Roberts Luneau's children's book) were readied for publication. Is someone also selling Ivory-bill coffee? And Ivory-bill t-shirts? Scott Weidensaul quotes John Fitzpatrick as asking, "You know what? Our lives are gong to change." Just what, I wonder, did he mean by that?

3:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess while other skeptics are expressing themselves, I'd like to ask Mr. Gallagher if all the scientists and conservation experts involved in this rediscovery really think the government should be spending so much money on the possibility of there being more than one woodpecker when so many other species need help. (Habitat preservation aside.)

9:23 AM  

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