Woodpecker. Gerard Gorman.

London: Reaktion Books, 2017. Octavo, paperback, photographs, illustrations.

WAS $25. Reaktion Animal Series. Highly regarded woodpecker expert Gerard Gorman presents a unique natural, social, and cultural history of woodpeckers. Woodpeckers are among the most remarkable birds, having evolved a unique anatomy enabling them to peck and bore into solid timber both to find food and to create nesting cavities. They have been considered symbols of fertility, strength, and prophecy, and have been esteemed as the guardians of woodlands, weather forecasters, and boat-builders. Gorman explores their origins and where they are found, and how they have fascinated humankind throughout history, from ancient Babylon, Greece, and Rome, via the tribes of North America and the jungles of Amazonia and Borneo, to the modern cartoon rascal Woody Woodpecker. He describes how they feature in folk tales, myths, and legends wherever they occur, and how their fluctuating relationship with humans has developed. Featuring stunning photographs and illustrations from both nature and culture, Woodpecker will appeal to anyone who is interested in these extraordinary birds.

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