Why Don't Woodpeckers Get Headaches: And Other Answers to Bird Questions You Know You Want to Askby Mike O'Connor, Olivia Miller (Editor)
In 1983, Mike O'Connor opened the Bird Watcher's General Store on Cape Cod, which might well have been the first store devoted solely to birding in the United States. Since that time he has answered thousands of questions about birds, both at his store and while walking down the aisles of the supermarket. The questions have ranged from inquiries about individual species ("Are flamingos really real?") to what and when to feed birds ("Should I bring in my feeders for the summer?") to the down-and-dirty specifics of backyard birding ("Why are the birds dropping poop in my pool?"). Answering the questions has been easy; keeping a straight face has been hard.
Why Don't Woodpeckers Get Headaches? is the solution for the beginning birder who already has a book that explains the slight variation between Common Ground-Doves and Ruddy Ground-Doves but who is really much more interested in why birds sing at 4:30 A.M. instead of 7:00 A.M., or whether it's okay to feed bread to birds, or how birds rediscover your feeders so quickly when you've just filled them after a long vacation. Or, for that matter, whether flamingos are really real.
Cape Codder columnist O'Connor ("Ask the Bird Folks") illuminates his intricate, arcane area of expertise through jovial insider explanations that will enlighten as well as entertain ornithiphiles, average backyard birdwatchers and even nonbirders. O'Connor's humorous birding columns are organized into sections on ways to attract specific species, food, unusual birds, habitats, equipment and more. Among many wry but practical answers to tongue-in-cheek and sincere questions, O'Connor explains why birdseed is healthier for birds than white bread (empty calories), but plain (not sugared) doughnuts are also better than bread. He debunks the "old wives' tale" of ostriches hiding their heads in the sand—on the open savanna they just drop their heads to the ground hoping to appear like a bush to a predator in the distance. As for the woodpecker, it has "evolved a rather tough head. Its larger brain case prevents concussions, and the muscle and bone structure at the base of the bill serves as a shock absorber. The avian equivalent in tone and expertise to NPR's Car TalkMagliozzi brothers, O'Connor should net a wider audience with this amusing collection. (Apr.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
- Beacon Press
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