Ornithologists have discovered a way to mimic the sound of a Pale-billed Woodpecker using a “double-knock box.” Originally, ornithologists tried amplifying a recording of the Pale-billed Woodpecker’s double knock, but the sound did not carry through the forest in the same way that it would in nature. Although it appears to be a very simple contraption built from wood scraps, the double-knock box is a precision instrument. It consistently mimics the signal with the right amount of spacing between each knock, and the second knock is always less loud than the first. The knock box is loud enough to lure in Pale-billed Woodpeckers, but not so loud that it scares them away. Learning how to communicate with pale-bills is one of the first steps in understanding their behavior.

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