Posts tagged ‘Bill’

How did the secretary bird get its name?

Secretary Bird

The odd-looking secretary bird is a South African bird of prey.  The reason for this bird’s name is easy to guess because of the tuft of long, stiff feathers that stick out from the back of its head.

The tuffs resemble the quill pens that old-time secretaries and clerks once carried behind their ears.  The secretary bird has a long neck and very long legs.  It is about four-feet tall and its plumage is gray and black.

It usually prefers to run instead of fly and is the only bird of prey that hunts on foot.

An inhabitant of Africa’s grassy plains, the secretary bird feeds chiefly on snakes, which it kills by stamping on the snake with its strong  feet and biting it with its hooked bill.

In their native home, farmers often tame secretary birds and keep them to kill rats and mice.  Another name for the secretary bird is “serpent eagle.” – Dick Rogers

Why do woodpeckers peck on wood?


When a woodpecker pecks, it may be searching insects for food that are living in the back of the tree, it may be digging out a nest, or it may be drumming out a “song” to its mate.

Most kinds of woodpeckers are our good friends.  They eat insects that harm trees.

Using its strong, sharp bill, the woodpecker digs out insects that are living in the cracks in the bark of trees.

In the springtime a woodpecker calls to its mat by drumming out a tattoo on a dry limb or the roof of a house with its strong bill.

Woodpeckers make holes in the trunks of trees for their nests.  They leave chips of wood on the bottom to cushion the white eggs.

The California woodpecker stores acorns in holes that it drills.  The woodpecker is not storing the acorns to eat.  A small worm has bored into each acorn.  Later, the woodpecker will return to feast on the fattened worms.

Only a few woodpeckers sometimes harm trees.

The unwelcomed ones are the sapsuckers.  As their name indicates, the drill rows of holes in the bark of trees and drink the sap as it drips from the holes. – Dick Rogers