Archive for December 15th, 2016

The Drummers of the Bird World

Thursday, December 15th, 2016
Golden fronted woodpecker, and golden throated ornithologist, Cliff Shackelford

Golden fronted woodpecker, and golden voiced ornithologist, Cliff Shackelford

This is Passport to Texas

Birds use their songs as a means of communication. But there are other ways birds get their point across, too.

Woodpeckers communicate by means of drumming.

Woodpeckers are the Questlove or Ringo Star of the bird world, and know how to make a racket.

Something like this: Brrrrrrrrrr. Very loud. Rapid succession beats to an object. Usually it’s going to be wood.

Those are the country woodpeckers. The city-dwelling woodpeckers drum on different surfaces.

They [woodpeckers] found in urban areas that we have metal rooves, telephone poles, aluminum gutters… These things really resonate and amplifies that drum to where that bird can cover more ground when drumming.

What are woodpeckers communicating through their drumming? And are they damaging property doing it?

When you hear that rapid-fire brrrrrrr, he’s not hurting anything. He’s just found a spot that really resonates, and he’s communicating to other woodpeckers, saying: ‘Hey, I’m the male here. This is my territory.’ And he’s also telling females: ‘Hey, if you’re interested, I’m here, too.’

Put a little smooth jazz or Barry White in the background and you have a bird version of love line.

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For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.