CLASS: Woodpecker Workshop

Pileated WoodpeckerTongues, Toes & Tales of Texas Woodpeckers — Anatomy & Adaptation
Saturday, Feb 18, 10 AM to 12:30 PM
$25 members; $30 non-members

Optional Pre-Workshop Field Trip: Saturday, Feb 18, 7 to 9:15 AM
Sign up early for the Field Trip, it is limited to 15 registrants!

Imagine, for a moment, slamming your face into a brick wall going 16 miles per hour. This self-destructive (and foolish) act would require about 1,200 g of force. Yet, a Pileated Woodpecker exerts the same force up to 20 times per second, and as many as 12,000 times per day, pounding its head into trees! How does it do this without getting concussions or retinal hemorrhages?! Woodpeckers possess a suite of adaptations that makes them one of the most specialized bird families in the world. Each species’ anatomy perfectly suits its unique lifestyle, with different woodpecker species possessing adaptations for aerial acrobatics, for drilling sap wells, or for extracting ants from underground burrows. Join North American woodpecker specialist Steve Shunk as we dive into the amazing world of woodpecker specialization.

About Stephen Shunk: Stephen Shunk graduated from Lamar High School in Arlington, Texas, but he didn’t begin birding until 1989, after moving to the San Francisco Bay Area. Steve started teaching about birds and their habitats in 1991, and he soon landed his first volunteer field job studying colonial waterbirds for the San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory. Tired of living in the urban jungle, Steve left California in 1997, eventually landing in the forests of central Oregon’s “Woodpecker Wonderland”—where eleven woodpecker species breed annually. He has spent the last 19 years studying woodpeckers in his backyard and beyond, and his long-awaited Peterson Reference Guide to Woodpeckers of North America hit the shelves in May 2016.

Steve co-founded the East Cascades Bird Conservancy and served as its first President. He also co-founded the Oregon Birding Trails program and coordinated its flagship project, the Oregon Cascades Birding Trail. Steve’s birding experience also includes a long list of field projects, from Black-backed Woodpecker research in northern California to 15 years as compiler for two Christmas Bird Counts. Through his company, Paradise Birding, Steve leads natural history tours across the Western Hemisphere and beyond, and he has lectured on a diverse array of topics from North America to Southeastern Asia. Learn more about Steve at or

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