The Nobel Prize is an annual international award for the best advances in science (among other disciplines). The Ig Nobel Prizes are for the most dubious or amusing advances in science. Rewarding real and sometimes very useful — but also rather bizarre and amusing — research, they are part of the lighter side of science.
A Ig Nobel Prize in Ornithology was awarded in 2006 to Dr. Ivan Schwab of UC Davis for his work on exploring why woodpeckers don't get headaches when they hammer wood with their beak. As a professor of ophthalmology, he also explored why their retinas do not detach. He received the honor at Harvard University.