The yellowhammer is the official state bird of Alabama. Related to the woodpecker, this bird also hammers or drills into trees with its very long beak. The reason why this bird was chosen as the state bird is because many believe its markings resemble clothing worn by confederate soldiers during the Civil War. Another reason is that these confederate soldiers would sometimes place the feathers of the birds in the brim of their hats while they were marching.
The bird is a light greenish-gray color on the head and back. It also has a speckled chest and brown and black striped wings. Splashes of bright yellow are visible on either side of the bird’s face, the underside of its wings, and along the throat area.
Yellowhammers live year-round in Alabama and are found in every part of the state. Part of the reason why they do not migrate is because of the moderate winters found here. Another is because there is an abundance of food during the winter months, as the yellowhammer dines primarily on pine nuts and a number of different berries when it’s cold outside. During the summer months, it also consumes insects such as grasshoppers and ants.
These birds do not appear to be threatened or endangered in their natural habitat. This is likely because they have few predators and are also not frequently hunted. These birds are not only attractive to watch, but also have a sweet warble, making them enjoyable to listen to as well.