I scattered a few peanuts on the picnic table on our deck, and it did not take long before half a dozen species were lining up for a freebie. One of those species was a hairy woodpecker, a favorite of ours partly because they are common and easy to see.

Now, birds do not have hair, so what is up with the name of this woodpecker? It is named for a patch of long thread-like white feathers in the middle of its back. Not really hair, but the point is made.

Terry Thomas is a wildlife biologist and naturalist. You can read more of his work on his website, www.nature-track.com, or pick up a copy of “The Best of Nature,” a collection of more than 100 of Thomas’s best nature essays at the Post Register. Follow him on Facebook, Nature-track.

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