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A Woodpeckers Tools of the Trade

Woodpeckers are among the most easily recognizable groups of birds – in part because of what they do and where they do it – such as excavating holes to nest in, and holes into insect tunnels to find food, and drumming loudly on resonant wood. 

But they are also easily recognized by aspects of their appearance:  a strong sharp bill that works as a chisel or pick, a stiff, strong tail that they use as a prop while climbing on tree surfaces, red feathers on the head of a male and sometimes also on females, and sharp, strongly curved claws that facilitate their climbing behavior. This week we will focus on these and other adaptations of woodpeckers that both unite them and separate individual species.