By Jerome A. Jackson, Walter J. Bock, Donna Olendorf, Joseph E. Trumpey
Moment edition,animal lifestyles encyclopedia:Birds
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Extra info for Grzimek's Animal Life Encyclopedia: Birds
The Jivaros of Amazonia, perhaps best known for shrinking human heads, mimic the courtship displays of the brilliant orange cock-of-the-rock (Rupicola rupicola). ). The behavior of birds has always provided the basis for metaphors, symbolism, mythology, and lessons to be learned. The courtship cooing of doves has long been symbolic of human love and courtship, the powerful beak and talons of eagles have similarly served as a metaphor for strength and a symbol of our armies. The silence, stillness, attentiveness to our presence, and human-like expression created by the forward-facing eyes and facial disc of feathers on an owl have led to owls becoming symbolic of wisdom.
Old Tarzan movies with the story set in Africa often had the loud call of a pileated woodpecker in the background. These were not all chance recordings. Some were likely the result of deliberate dubbing in of a call that had been recorded in the 1930s by Arthur A. Allen, an ornithologist at Cornell University. Allen collaborated with Hollywood filmmakers in developing techniques for recording natural sounds. The results of those efforts not only added “realism” to movies, but also contributed much to the scientific study of bird sounds.
Woody Woodpecker’s appearance and voice are movie icons borrowed in stylized form from the North American pileated woodpecker. Big Bird is much more generic, but a lovable character recognized by young and old. The role of birds as mascots for athletic teams is really big business—and sometimes contentious. When the University of Central Florida opened its doors in the 1970s, the student body twice voted for “Vincent the Vulture” as their mascot, conjuring up images of a trained turkey vulture (Cathartes aura) circling the opponents’ bench.