“Why? Why do woodpeckers peck into trees so much? Is it because they hate trees? Are they full of avian anger that they’re trying to work out? Are they bored because their parents took away their videos games? The answer—or answers—turn out to be simpler than that……..”
That is the kind of writing that make this book a page-turner.
It is also testimony to Collard’s love of shooting woodpeckers, with a camera, not a gun. So many of them have brilliant coloration, especially of their heads, perhaps to make sure we notice how they use them. A woodpecker’s beak is a chisel and its head has a special tendon harness to keep it from giving itself a concussion. They peck to find food under bark and to carve out a cavity in a tree for a nest. And sometimes they peck to make noise—they drum! They drum to let other males know where they are and they drum to attract females. Who knew? Scientists record the drumming and play it back to lure woodpeckers for study. Surprise, a woodpecker will attack the loudspeakers near the human observer. Their drumming is intellectual property!
Woodpeckers: Drilling Holes & Bagging Bugs is a beautifully designed book with heavy, glossy stock pages that show off the spectacular photos of these birds feeding their young, catching flies on the fly, and slurping sap loaded with ants. Collard and his son, Braden obviously spent a lot of time working to get difficult-to-capture action photos and they share some of their hard-won out-takes with us as well.
The process of discovery, of being a naturalist, is shared with the reader. It is not quick or easy but it’s well-worth the investment. Publication is May 2018.