Woody's Last Laugh: How the Extinct Ivory-Billed Woodpecker Fools Us Into Making 53 Thinking Errors (Paperback)

Woody's Last Laugh: How the Extinct Ivory-Billed Woodpecker Fools Us Into Making 53 Thinking Errors By James Christopher Haney Cover Image
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'When I was appointed Co-chair of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service team charged with preparing a preliminary recovery plan for the Ivory-billed Woodpecker, I had naive notions about the work ahead. Dr. Haney's book would have been an immense help in navigating the many strange behaviors, misconceptions, and bitter disagreements that ensued. Woody's Last Laugh reveals that I, too, fell to faulty thinking about the Ivory-bill and the question of its continued existence or extinction. I highly recommend this book for anyone involved in endangered species recovery as a way to avoid the many cognitive biases that we all face.' Jon Andrew, Co-chair of Ivory-billed Woodpecker Recovery Team (retired) Woody's Last Laugh explores a simmering controversy amid scientists, conservationists, birders and the media: the supposed 'extinction' of American ivory-billed woodpecker. Among the first to identify rampant mental errors inside conservation and environmental professions, the book identifies 53 distinct kinds of cognitive blunders, psychological biases, and logical fallacies on both sides of the woodpecker controversy. Few species have ever provoked such social rancor. Why are rumors of its persistence so prevalent, unlike other near or recently extinct animals? Why are we so bad mannered with each other about a mere bird? How is it that we cannot agree even on whether a mere bird is alive or dead? Woody's Last Laugh uncovers why such mysteries so mess with our heads. By exploring uncharted borders between conservation and mental perception, new ways of evaluating truth and accuracy are opened to everyone. Author Dr. J. Christopher Haney is a biologist, conservation scientist and lifelong birder. For 12 years he was Chief Scientist at Defenders of Wildlife. In 2010, following the Deepwater Horizon oil blowout, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service invited him to lead the largest pelagic study of marine birds ever conducted in the Gulf of Mexico. Since 2013 he has been president of Terra Mar Applied Sciences, an independent public-interest conservation research firm which he founded. If there is one lesson Dr. Haney hopes his book delivers, it is to not overvalue our thinking skills. Human reason is fallible, even among scientists and technical experts. To improve our essential relationship with nature, conservation practices will need to devote as much attention to the unbridled thoughts as the unswerving sentiments. Dead or alive, however, the ivory-bill got the last laugh on us all.

About the Author


Dr. Haney is currently President and Founder, Terra Mar Applied Sciences, LLC, a company he organized in 2013 to sponsor research in the public interest. His professional expertise encompasses marine science, wildlife biology, ecosystem management, and conservation policy, including decision-making under uncertainty. He lives in Washington, DC.


Product Details
ISBN: 9781803410043
ISBN-10: 1803410043
Publisher: Changemakers Books
Publication Date: December 1st, 2021
Pages: 536
Language: English