Why woodpeckers never get headaches?

Many of you have probably never seen the woodpecker, but his peculiar noise is known to every single person. There are woodpeckers in every single forest and they bring a lot of use to the nature. These birds are called “Forest Doctors” for a reason.


Woodpeckers live on the trees and find their food also there. They peck on the trees also for a reason. There are plenty of harmful insects and maggots under the bark of any tree. Woodpeckers can feel them by a scent. And birds start to peck on the tree exactly in the place where are the insects until they reach the goal.

Also Read : How many insects are there on the Earth?

Woodpecker’s nib is very sharp and strong, like a bolster. However a woodpecker uses his nib only for making a hole in the tree, and by using his long sticky tongue he takes out the insects. The tongue of these birds is also rather interesting. Some species of woodpeckers have a tongue that is twice longer then the head. It has a round shape in section, is firm on the tip and has chips on the sides. When a tongue is inside the mouth, it rolls back like a loop. In order to catch the insect a woodpecker rolls the tongue out and can reach the deepest areas inside the knocked hole.

black woodpecker home

black woodpecker home

Such holes bare no danger for the healthy trees, on the contrary in such way a woodpecker brings a lot of benefits. It cleans up the tree from pests and saves from the sicknesses. Woodpeckers hollow out not only live trees but dead ones as well, and this is also very beneficial, as many harmful pests nestle inside the fallen trees and then move to the healthy ones.

Usually woodpeckers make their hollow in such dead trees. They tend to peck two holes from different sides, as if making a backdoor, which they can use in case of a danger.

small woodpecker

Why a woodpecker who hollows the tree with his nib for hours doesn’t go nuts? The speed of the nib during pecking of some birds can reach 2000 km per hour! How can a tiny brain, size of the ripen cherry handle constantly, endlessly shaking without any harmful consequences? The duration of every knock is just a milisecond and the overload during each of the peck reaches 1000 g. Just for comparison: 1g is a power needed for overcoming the force of gravity, and spacemen experience the overload up to 4 g.

black woodpecker

It turns out that it is the neck muscles of the woodpecker that save him. They are coordinated so well, that when a woodpecker hollows the tree, his head and a nib move along the straight line. If the knock was done at least under the smallest angle, the brain of the woodpecker gets destroyed pretty fast. But it doesn’t happen. As it turned out the absence of nodding and rotatable head movements serves as a solid protection for the bird’s brain.

There are various kinds of woodpeckers. In our forests you can usually meet large, bright woodpeckers, more known as ordinary woodpeckers.

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