In order to show both sides of the story I wanted to cross post to an IBWO optimist (cyberthrush ) who believes that there have been many sightings of IBWO over the years.
According to cyberthrush sightings fall into 5 categories:
"1. Birders who believe they have seen Ivory-bills but never reported it for fear of the scoffing, jeering, or intimidation they would face.
2. Birders who believe they have seen Ivory-bills (might even have photographic proof), but who believe it UNethical to report such a finding, for fear of the potential havoc brought upon the birds.
3. Birders who have had fleeting 'low-qualiity' glances at big black-and-white woodpeckers in woods and automatically shrugged it off as Pileateds, when in fact they had observed IBWOs.
4. Hunters, fisherman, backwoodsmen, who have seen IBWOs, but didn't have a clue what they were seeing (nor care) and so never reported it.
5. Hunters, fishermen, etc. who have seen IBWOs, and knew EXACTLY what they were seeing, and deliberately chose NOT to report it for fear of Government intervention and tight regulation of the land involved."
These 5 categories seem pretty inclusive and compelling to me. What do you think?