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common name for members of the Picidae, a large family of climbing birds found in most parts of the world. Woodpeckers typically have sharp, chisellike bills for pecking holes in tree trunks, and long, barbed, extensible tongues with which they impale their insect prey. Their spiny tail feathers act as a prop in climbing, resting, and drilling. Usually the male has a red or orange patch on its head and barred and spotted black or brown plumage with light underparts. Among the North American woodpeckers are the sociable downy woodpecker, Picus pubescens (about 6 1-2 in./17 cm long); the similar but larger hairy woodpecker, P. villosus, the red-crested pileated woodpecker, or logcock, Hylotomus pileatus (about 17 in./44.3 cm long), which is similar to the possibly extinct ivory-billed woodpeckerivory-billed woodpecker,
common name for the largest of the North American woodpeckers, Campephilus principalis. Once plentiful in Southern hardwood forests, it was believed to be extinct or nearing extinction after 1952.
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; the redheaded and three-toed woodpeckers, genus Picoides; and the California woodpecker, genus Colaptes, which makes small holes in trees for storing acorns. The flickers, genus Melanerpes, the only brown-backed woodpeckers, sometimes capture insects on the ground. The yellow-shafted flicker is known by many local names (e.g., high hole and yellowhammer) and interbreeds with the red-shafted flicker. The sapsuckers (e.g., the red-breasted and yellow-bellied sapsuckers) may damage or kill trees by girdling them with small holes through which they eat some of the cambium and drink sap; they also feed on ants and wild fruit. The piculetspiculet
, common name for a small bird of the family Picidae, which includes the woodpecker and the wryneck. Like the true woodpeckers, piculets are large-headed and have long, sticky tongues, but they lack the stiff, balancing tail feathers of the larger woodpeckers.
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 are tiny (3–5 in./7.6–12.7 cm long) Old and New World woodpeckers. The woodpecker family also includes the Old World wryneckwryneck,
common name for a primitive, unspecialized bird of the genus Jynx. The name is said to derive from their habit of twisting their necks when disturbed. Unlike other members of the family Picidae, which includes the woodpeckers and piculets, wrynecks neither climb
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, which does not peck wood. Woodpeckers are classified in the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
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, subphylum Vertebrata, class Aves, order Piciformes, family Picidae.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved. www.cc.columbia.edu/cu/cup/
The following article is from Conspiracies and Secret Societies. It is a summary of a conspiracy theory, not a statement of fact.


The tap-tap-tap of the secret Russian “woodpecker” beamed ELF at U.S. coastal cities, causing anxiety, depression, and suicides among the populace.

In 1975 and the years following, conspiracy theorists were greatly concerned by warnings that Soviet submarines were beaming ELF at U.S. coastal cities. (ELF, extremely low frequency, is the band of radio frequencies from 3 to 300 Hz.) According to conspiracists, the low frequency caused a general malaise, headaches, depression, even suicides among the coastal population. Listening devices had picked up the ELF transmission, which was described as a “tap, tap, tap, tap, tap,” sounding very much like a woodpecker knocking his beak against a tree trunk.

Secret Russian neuromedical research discovered that there are specific brain frequencies for each mood, thought, or emotion that humans experience. An extensive catalog of these brain actions with their distinctive frequencies was established by Russian scientists and psychologists. From the shadowy waters off the U.S. coast, the submarines could beam ELF waves for anger, suicide, hysteria, lust, paranoia, or depression at hundreds, perhaps thousands, of unaware victims. The Soviet subs weren’t trying to blitz the entire nation. If they could cause residents in the coastal areas to have nervous breakdowns, that would be sufficient to prove that the human brain can be controlled, even at a distance, by the utilization of ELF carried by pulse-modulated microbeams. Eugene, Oregon, was one of the cities where people were greatly affected by the Soviets pulsing “woodpecker” ELF waves at key brain-wave rhythms.

It was no secret that the U.S. Navy used ELF to communicate with submerged submarines. Undersea craft are blocked from most electromagnetic signals because of the electrical conductivity of salt water. ELF is not used for ordinary communications because its extremely low transmission rate requires a very large antenna, many miles in length.

According to conspiracists, U.S. military scientists began to realize that the “woodpecker” was considerably more than cold war paranoia, and the navy eventually invested more than $25 million into ELF research. It wasn’t long before America had a fleet of its own “woodpeckers” cruising the coasts of Soviet-bloc nations.

U.S. senator Gaylord Nelson later forced the navy to reveal their findings demonstrating that ELF transmissions can alter human blood chemistry. In 1976 Dr. Susan Bawin and Dr. W. Ross Adey proved that nerve cells are affected by ELF fields.

In the summer of 1977, strange anomalous sky glows, weird lightning, and eerie plasma effects were seen in the skies near the woodpecker transmitter sites in the USSR. The Washington Post (September 23, 1977) carried a report that cited “a strange, star-like ball of light” seen in the sky over Petrozavodsk in Soviet Karelia, “spreading like a jellyfish and showering down shafts of light.”

The U.S. government constructed and maintained two sites in the Chequamegon National Forest, Wisconsin, and the Escanaba State Forest, Michigan, each utilizing power lines as antennae stretching from fourteen to twenty-eight miles in length. Ecologists became concerned about environmental conditions and human health problems resulting from the great amounts of electricity generated and emitted by ELF, and in 1984 a federal judge ordered construction halted until further studies could be made and evaluated.

At the height of the great floods that inundated the Midwest in 1993, people saw “mysterious flashes of light” that streamed from “the tops of storm-clouds into the upper atmosphere” during the heavy rains. The Kansas City Star reported that the mysterious flashes of light resembled “jellyfish.” On September 24, 1993, the newspaper reported that the flashes of light were “brightest where they top out—typically about 40 miles high—so you have the jellyfish body at the top with tentacles trailing down.”

In 2004 the antennae at the Chequamegon and Escanaba ELF installations were ordered dismantled. Conspiracy theorists say that it really doesn’t matter whether the government tears those two sites down. HAARP far surpasses those pesky Russian and Yank woodpeckers in its potential for weather control and military domination of the world.

Conspiracies and Secret Societies, Second Edition © 2013 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.


(vertebrate zoology)
A bird of the family Picidae characterized by stiff tail feathers and zygodactyl feet which enable them to cling to a tree trunk while drilling into the bark for insects.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


any climbing bird of the family Picidae, typically having a brightly coloured plumage and strong chisel-like bill with which they bore into trees for insects: order Piciformes
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
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