Sunday, November 25, 2012


 We stayed in the resort today.  We did take the movies back.  

I looked up some information on the internet on woodpeckers that I thought was very interesting and I could not get any pics that are any good to show you so I found a couple of good ones on the net too.  So read on and be amazed.

Woodpeckers Don’t Get Concussions

[Well, unless you were trying to really kill the bird of course, but in the course of their head-banging lives, they do not]
A woodpecker’s head experiences decelerations of 1200g as it drums on a tree at up to 22 times per second. Humans are often left concussed if they experience 80 to 100g, so how the woodpecker avoids brain damage is amazing, but perfectly accounted for by evolution and natural selection.
So Sang-Hee Yoon and Sungmin Park of the University of California, Berkeley, studied video and CT scans of the bird’s head and neck and found that it has four structures that absorb mechanical shock. These are its hard-but-elastic beak; a sinewy, springy tongue-supporting structure that extends behind the skull called the hyoid; an area of spongy bone in its skull; and the way the skull and cerebrospinal fluid interact to suppress vibration.
In reality, nature has created the perfect shock absorber, many times more efficient than our best attempts to create one. It may seem amazing how a small bird can withstand such gargantuan cranial trauma.
What’s more, a deceleration of 1200 G is equivalent to, over 1 second, coming to a complete stop from 26,000 miles per hour! Can you imagine slamming into a brick wall at that speed? You could escape the Earth’s orbit going that fast, and you would quite literally vaporize to a pink mist on impact. But nature does it, albeit on a much smaller scale.

Yeah, they can burrow into concrete
There are a number of woodpecker-specific adaptations which make the practice of repeatedly slamming your head against a hard surface slightly more tolerable.
Firstly, woodpeckers have relatively small brains which, in contrast to a human, are packed fairly tightly inside their skull cavity. This prevents the excessive movement of the brain inside the skull which causes so-called ‘contre-coup’ injuries (literally brain bruising) in humans. These occur when the brain bashes into the skull following a knock on the head. In other words the head stops, but the brain keeps on moving.
Also, because the brain is small it has a high surface area to weight ratio, meaning that the impact force is spread over a much larger area, relatively speaking, compared with a human. Again, this minimizes the applied trauma.
Finally, the woodpecker always ensures that he strikes his target in a dead straight line. This approach avoids placing rotational or sheering stresses on the nerve fibers in the brain. Humans involved in car accidents frequently develop the symptoms of ‘diffuse axonal injury’ or DAI, where sudden deceleration coupled with rotation literally twists the different parts of the brain off each other like a lid coming off a jar. By hammering in a dead straight line woody woodpecker avoids giving himself DAI, further minimizing the risk of brain damage. Such an approach may have implications for the design of protective head gear – such as crash helmets – which could be modified to prevent rotational injuries.
Unfortunately, we’re just not adapted to beat our heads against walls, trees, or even paving slabs, with half the impunity of a woodpecker. Definitely a case of “don’t try this at home”.

How can you tell if a bird is a woodpecker? The most famous woodpecker is the Pileated (pill-ee-ate-ed) Woodpecker, better known as Woody Woodpecker. You usually see woodpeckers hanging onto the side of a tree. Many woodpeckers have a black back with white sideways marks. Some have red heads or yellow chests. To find them, listen for their pecking sound.
How do they hang on? Woodpeckers have special feet. Most tree birds have 3 toes going forward, and 1 going back. Woodpeckers are different, because 2 toes go forward and 2 go back. It’s like having an extra thumb to help them hold on. Their sharp claws help too. Even their tail feathers help. These feathers are very stiff, and the bird can lean on them for support. It’s like having a little built in stool. 


How do they find food? When they hear an insect under the bark, they peck a hole with their beaks. The woodpecker has an extra-thick skull, so he doesn’t get a headache from all that pecking. His beak is long, straight, and pointy, good for making holes. His tongue is extremely long with a sharp end for spiking bugs inside the tree. This tongue is also sticky, so it can attach to ants in the tree or lick up sap. The straight bill is also good for collecting nuts and berries. Many woodpeckers don’t migrate (fly south for the winter). They live in a warm tree hole all year and eat the bugs that live underneath the bark. They can also go to bird feeders for peanut butter and suet (prepared cow fat).
How do they have babies? Woodpeckers use their beaks to sing and drum on trees. This attracts a mate. The boys do more drumming than girls. After they find a mate, both the boy and girl help to peck a hole in a tree. They tunnel down into the tree 1-2 feet, then make a wood chip nest at the bottom. Both the girl and the boy take turns sitting on the eggs and feeding the babies.

Pileated Woodpeckers are 18" tall. This bird is pileated(or crested) with a large red feather spike on top of its head. Most of its food includes tree insects like carpenter ants and beetles. Sometimes it also eats fruits, nuts, and seeds. It is the largest woodpecker in Florida.

This funny is for my brother Jerry, you are right.LOL

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