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Nature Birdwatching Guides

Woodpeckers of North America

by (author) Frances Backhouse

Firefly Books
Initial publish date
Aug 2009
Birdwatching Guides
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Aug 2009
    List Price
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2005
    List Price

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"Superb photographs and drawings." -- Choice

"Highly recommended." -- Library Journal

The distinctive pok pok pok sound of a woodpecker makes them easy to hear and identify, and watching one at work is fascinating. While all species share certain anatomical features, including a long, straight bill designed for drilling wood, woodpeckers' biology, behavior and habitats can vary widely.

Woodpeckers of North America is a comprehensive, profusely illustrated natural history reference to all 28 species of woodpecker found in the United States, Canada and northern Mexico. The book describes in detail the lives and attributes of each species, examining anatomy, communication, feeding and nesting habits, reproduction, mortality and their relationship with other woodpecker species and with humans.

Identifying traits are covered in 28 profiles that describe:

  • Behavior
  • Habitat
  • Voice
  • Drumming and tapping
  • Feeding
  • Breeding
  • Migration and conservation
  • Range, including a color map.

The book features 100 close-up color photographs that capture these intriguing birds in their natural environments. Detailed line drawings highlight interesting aspects of anatomy and behavior.

Birders, naturalists and general readers will find this book is an authoritative reference that is a pleasure to read.

About the author

Frances Backhouse studied biology in university and worked as a park naturalist and as a biologist before becoming an environmental journalist and author. Her six previous books include Once They Were Hats: In Search of the Mighty Beaver and Children of the Klondike, which won the 2010 City of Victoria Butler Book Prize. She lives in Victoria, British Columbia, with her partner, Mark Zuehlke, who is also a writer. Frances loves exploring the natural world both close to home and far away, especially when those explorations involve tent-camping. If there’s a beaver habitat nearby, it’s even better.

Frances Backhouse's profile page

Editorial Reviews

Two of the most helpful and interesting sections focus on the effects that human activities have on these birds, and the anatomy section contains information has probably escaped most birders.

Birdbooker Report 82

These are lavishly illustrated, beautifully designed volumes in which Backhouse not only provides information about different species but also shows how they fit into their ecosystems and how they relate to humans. (reviewed with Owls of North America)

Whitehorse Star

Woodpeckers are found all over the world, in many guises, from the simple to the extravagantly beautiful, and all are described with care and photographed with something approaching reverence.

Globe and Mail

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