The long-anticipated response  to the Cornell Ivory-billed Woodpecker paper  has been published in Science, the journal that published the original paper, along with a response from some of the original authors . The authors are well-known field guide author and artist David Sibley; birder and tour leader Louis Bevier; Michael Patten, Director of Research, Sutton Avian Research Center; and Chris Elphick, of the University of Nevada-Reno.
Sibley et al. argue that the video image and sound recordings, evidence presented in the original paper, “cannot be taken to confirm the species’ presence because they do not provide independently verifiable evidence.” Like woodpecker expert Jerry Jackson, the authors believe the bird in the video is a Pileated Woodpecker. Jackson wrote a thorough, thoughtful essay in the last issue of the Auk  outlining, among other things, why he did not believe the original Science paper provided enough proof. Although the Auk is a peer-reviewed journal, the Jackson piece was not peer reviewed, as it appeared in a non-scientific section of the journal entitled “Perspectives in Ornithology.” Just about everybody and his brother has weighed in on this topic, but the Sibley et al. paper is the first peer reviewed refutation to be published.
In the response, the subset of original authors argue that Sibley et al. are mistaken in their analysis. I needn’t go on, because, really, here’s the bottom line. The video is obviously not conclusive, or there wouldn’t be much debate. A plausible alternative for what appears on the video (that it is a Pileated Woodpecker) cannot be conclusively disproven.
In the Sibley paper, similar analytical tools were used to reach a different conclusion than in the original paper, akin to two researchers performing the same experiment and getting different results. Nor have the “results” presented in the first paper been replicated in two years of herculean effort. An in the world of science, a situation of this nature would generally be considered to be at the “back to the drawing board” stage. And I think that’s where the IBWO is at. Still awaiting rediscovery.
 Sibley, D.A., L. R. Bevier, M. A. Patten, and C. S. Elphick. 2006. Comment on “Ivory-billed Woodpecker (Campephilus principalis) Persists in Continental North America.” Science 311:1555a.
 Fitzpatrick, J. W., M. Lammertink, M. D. Luneau, Jr., T. W. Gallagher, B. R. Harrison, G. M. Sparling, K. V. Rosenberg, R. W. Rohrbaugh, E. C. H. Swarthout, P. H. Wrege, S. Barker Swarthout, M. S. Dantzker, R. A. Charif, T. R. Barksdale, J. V. Remsen, Jr., S. D. Simon, and D. Zollner. 2005. Ivory-billed Woodpecker (Campephilus principalis) persists in continental North America. Science 308:1460 – 1462.
 Fitzpatrick, J. W., M. Lammertink, M. D. Luneau, Jr., T. W. Gallagher, and K. V. Rosenberg. 2006. Response to Comment on “Ivory-billed Woodpecker (Campephilus principalis) Persists in Continental North America.” Science 311:1555b.
 Jackson, J. A. 2006. Ivory-billed Woodpecker (Campephilus principalis): hope, and the interfaces of science, conservation, and politics. Auk 123:1-15.