Alabama State Bird
Adoption of the Alabama State Bird
The bill to make the yellow-hammer the official bird of Alabama was introduced in the Alabama Legislature by Representative Thomas E. Martin of Montgomery County.
The yellow-hammer became the official bird of Alabama when the legislation was signed by Governor David Bibb Graves on September 6, 1927.
According to George Earlie Shankle, Ph.D.,
More specifically, the term relates back to a particular incident that took place in Hopkinsville, Kentucky during the War Between the States.
A company of young Confederate cavalry soldiers from Huntsville, Alabama, under the command of Rev. D.C. Kelly, joined a group of seasoned veterans under the command of Gen. Bedford Forrest in Hopkinsville.
The young cavalry arrived in fine new uniforms, accented on the sleeves, collars, and coat tails with bright yellow fabric. As the young soldiers paraded past the seasoned veterans, in their faded, worn uniforms, the contrast in attire was noted.
One veteran, Will Arnett, greeted these shiny new recruits, calling out "Yallerhammer, yallerhammer, flicker, flicker!"
The Huntsville veterans roared with laughter and from that moment on the raw Huntsville cavalry were known as the "Yellowhammer Company."
The story spread throughout the Confederate Army and in time all Alabama troops were unofficially referred to as Yellowhammers.
Later, Alabama Confederate veterans took pride in being referred to as "Yellowhammers" and wore yellow feathers in their caps or lapels during post-war reunions.
The old Civil War story has since inspired people to refer to Alabama as the Yellowhammer State and, at times, to its citizens as "Yellowhammers".
About the Alabama State Bird
The bird named as the yellow-hammer by the Alabama Legislature back in 1927 is most often referred to today as the northern flicker, common flicker or simply flicker. Yellow-hammer is more often spelled yellowhammer.
The northern flicker is a woodpecker with strong claws for climbing, a stiff tail for maintaining balance and for leverage, and a hard chisel-like bill for boring into wood for insects.
The Code of Alabama 1975
The following information is excerpted from The Code of Alabama 1975, Title 1, Chapter 2, Section 1-2-7.
The bird commonly called the yellow-hammer is hereby designated the state bird.
(Acts 1927, No. 542, p. 628; Code 1940, T. 55, §7.)
Colaptes auratus (Northern Flicker): University of Michigan Museum of Zoology: Animal Diversity Web.
State Bird List: List of all of the state birds.
Alabama Bird Watching: A Year-Round Guide: by Bill Thompson III with the staff of Bird Watcher's Digest.
Coveside Northern Flicker House: The Northern Flicker is a woodpecker that utilizes a bird house quite readily. Prefers open country with trees, parks and large gardens; especially in or at the edge of open woods. (17-3/4"h x 9-1/4"w x 11"d).
Bird Feeders and Accessories: Backyard Birding > Bird Feeders & Accessories from Amazon.com.
State Birds & Flowers 1000-pc Puzzle: Created at the request of The National Wildlife Federation this design is a beautiful and informative puzzle featuring every state bird perched on the appropriate state flower.
State Names, Seals, Flags, and Symbols: A Historical Guide, Third Edition - Benjamin F. Shearer and Barbara S. Shearer, Greenwood Press, 2002
State Names, Flags, Seals, Songs, Birds, Flowers and Other Symbols: A Study based on historical documents giving the origin and significance of the state names, nicknames, mottoes, seals, flowers, birds, songs, and descriptive comments on the capitol buildings and on some of the leading state histories, Revised Edition - George Earlie Shankle, Ph.D., The H.W. Wilson Company, 1938 (Reprint Services Corp. 1971)
Source: The Code of Alabama 1975, (http://www.legislature.state.al.us/CodeofAlabama/1975/coatoc.htm), April 6, 2005.
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