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Friday, April 11, 2008

WOODY HAS AN ENORMOUS PECKER ! ! !

KINGSIZED PECKER

ORDINARY PECKER

Without its beak, a woodpecker would be up a gumtree.

But as the well-endowed fellow shows, it's possible to have too much of a good thing.

The great spotted male, a regular visitor to a garden in North Yorkshire, has a bill more than twice the normal size.

Perhaps they should have called him Big Bill ... Woody in action on one of the Morton's nut feeders

He was noticed by retired RAF pilot Bob Morton and his wife Janet on their garden feeders at Rosedale, near Pickering. Inevitably, they named him Woody.

"We just couldn't believe how big his beak was," said Mr Morton, 62.

The woodpecker's beak is used to make holes in hollow trees and hammer out a territorial warning to rivals.

Experts today claimed its beak was one of the biggest they had ever seen and are surprised the male great spotted woodpecker can fly, let alone feed.

Mr Morton, 62, a retired RAF pilot, said: "Woody comes by everyday now, you can't miss him. We first noticed the beak at Christmas when he arrived with a female and a baby.

Pecking order: Woody's beak is three times bigger than his rather under-powered rivals

"We just couldn't believe how big [his beak] was. Compared to his mate you can see it should be at least half that size."

The woodpecker's beak can locate winding tunnels in tree trunks containing grubs and larvae but Woody's bill is a freak of nature.

Luckily, he has no trouble flying, nesting or feeding and has not chopped down any trees so far.

Tony Richardson, from the RSPB, said: "The creature does have a serious beak deformity. It's probably 120 per cent bigger than it should be.

"A beak grows much like hair and nails on a human but natural wear and tear should keep it in check.

"Many birds wouldn't be able to survive with this handicap but luckily woodpeckers have enormous tongues so this one is still able to gather food."

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