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: Doctor Alexander Frank Skutch (1904-2004) was a naturalist and writer. He published numerous scientific papers and books about birds and several books on philosophy. He is best remembered ornithologically for his pioneering work on helpers at the nest, which is a term used in behavioural ecology and evolutionary biology to describe a social structure in which juveniles and sexually mature adolescents of either one or both sexes, remain in association with their parents and help them raise subsequent broods or litters, instead of dispersing and beginning to reproduce themselves. Alexander Skutch was born in Baltimore, Maryland. He received a Doctorate in Botany from Johns Hopkins University. Skutch wrote over 40 books and over 200 papers on ornithology, preferring a descriptive style and eschewing statistics and even banding. He died eight days before his 100th birthday, in the same year that he received the Loye and Alden Miller Research Award. He is universally regarded as one of the world's greatest ornithologists. The illustrator, Dana Gardner (b. 1950), grew up in a small village in Southeastern Minnesota which led to a lifelong interest in nature. He has illustrated many books on natural history subjects, and especially books and field guides on birds. He met Alexander Skutch in Panama in 1976 and they worked together for the next 28 years until his death. As always, his illustrations in "Life of the Woodpecker" are exquisite!