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January 17, 2019

The woodpecker is such an amazing bird – learn more

CREATIVE: Bushman’s logo. Photo/STEVE KINUTHIA
CREATIVE: Bushman’s logo. Photo/STEVE KINUTHIA

It is said that one of the most important tools in starting a company is the name. The name of a company plays a very crucial role in shaping how fast the company gets around. It can attract clients, or help keep them away. The other crucial tool is the logo, especially when it comes to digital marketing. The logo has to be one that tells a story on its own.

One time I wanted to test the effect of the logo to my company. I printed some T-shirts with the logo for my drivers and myself as uniforms during one of my safaris. The effect was instant. Beginning right at the airport, all the clients wanted a T-shirt each.

When we arrived at the first lodge, the staff coming out to meet the clients had first to ask me if I had extra T-shirts that I could give them. They even offered to buy the T-shirts. One question that kept coming through was: “How did you think up the logo?” The logo identifies well with the theme of the company – bird-watching and photography. It is a picture of a woodpecker clasping on a dead wood that is crafted carefully to create the b of bushman. So how did I think up the logo?

I was having an afternoon nap in my cosy room at the Bogoria Spar Resort. Just when I was falling off, I had something like a knock on the door. Two successive quick knocks. I went outside to answer the door but there was no one. I went back to lie on the bed. As I pulled up the covers, there was again a three-pronged knock. I pulled back the covers and approached the door slowly. The outside was deathly quiet. No one was around. Was I dreaming awake?

I decided to stay at the door without moving, hidden away by the door curtains. It is then that I saw my tormentor. A golden tailed woodpecker was fighting his reflection on the glass window pane. A good look at the magnificent bird convinced me that this would be the picture on my logo.

Woodpeckers are the only creatures that spend most of their waking hours banging their heads against wood. They do this because of the role they seem to have been assigned – to clean insects from under the bark of trees. They are the only living things able to locate and eradicate insects that otherwise would eat up and kill trees in our gardens.

Almost every part of the woodpecker’s body is directed towards the sole object of hewing wood. Its legs are short and powerful and they grasp the bark of trees by a unique arrangement of sharply pointed toes. Two facing front and two facing backwards, forming a gripping pair of tongs on each foot. The tail acts as a brace, steadying the bird as it delivers jackhammer blows to a tree. The middle of the tails feather is unusually strong, and by a remarkable adaptation, these feathers do not fall out during molting season until all the other tail feathers have regrown enough to offer the prop support.

Most of the ornithologists would agree that the hearing capabilities of the woodpecker guide it to the insects inside the tree barks. After the bird taps on the trunk, it poses a moment, probably to hear whether the tapping has disturbed insects hidden inside. Also, the tapping produces subtle differences in sound on the wood, indicating a hollow part of the tree, which could only be an insect nest inside the tree. This calls for further investigation and the woodpecker starts the real work – tapping sharply and strongly, pinpointing at the hollow section of the tree.

Woodpeckers are remarkably equipped for violently slamming their heads against wood, sometimes 18 times a second, without becoming dizzy or suffering concussion. The beak is straight, very hard and pointed... to be continued.

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