Why Don't Woodpeckers Get Headaches? And Other Bird Questions You Know You Want to Ask

Mike O'Connor, Author, Olivia Miller, Editor, Michael Chesworth, Illustrator . Beacon $9.95 (211p) ISBN 978-0-8070-8574-5

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 Talk Magliozzi brothers, O'Connor should net a wider audience with this amusing collection. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 02/12/2007
Release date: 04/01/2007
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