Fun Fact: Why Don't Woodpeckers Get Brain Damage? -
2016-05-05 16:30:19 GMT
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First, a woodpecker’s skull is built to absorb shock and minimize damage. The bone that surrounds the brain is thick and spongy, and loaded with trabeculae, microscopic beam-like bits of bone that form a tightly woven “mesh” for support and protection. On their scans, the scientists found that this spongy bone is unevenly distributed in woodpeckers, and it is concentrated around the forehead and the back of the skull, where it could act as a shock absorber.
Woodpeckers' hyoid bones act as additional support structures. In humans, the horseshoe-shaped hyoid is an attachment site for certain throat and tongue muscles. Woodpeckers’ hyoids do the same job, but they’re much larger and are differently shaped. The ends of the “horseshoe” wrap all the way around the skull and, in some species, even around the eye socket or into the nasal cavity, eventually meeting to form a sort of sling shape. This bizarre-looking bone, the researchers think, acts like a safety harness for the woodpecker’s skull, absorbing shock stress and keeping it from shaking, rattling and rolling with each peck.
Inside the skull, the brain has its own defenses. It’s small and smooth, and is positioned in a tight space with its largest surface pointing towards the front of the skull. It doesn’t move around too much, and when it does collide with the skull, the force is spread out over a larger area. This makes it more resistant to concussions, the researchers say.
A woodpecker’s beak helps prevent trauma, too. The outer tissue layer of its upper beak is longer than the lower beak, creating a kind of overbite, and the bone structure of the lower beak is longer and stronger than the upper one. The researchers think that the uneven build diverts impact stress away from the brain and distributes it to the lower beak and bottom parts of the skull instead.
We have one that likes to drill on our (and our neighbor's) metal chimney caps. Took me the longest time to figure out what that sound was. One of these days I'll get a picture of it.
There were some in my old neighborhood that tried to drill on the vinyl siding.
I've wondered why this is. Someone on the internet says: "Usually when you hear a woodpecker hammering on metal (metal chimney caps, metal transformers on power poles, rooftop antennas, etc.), it's to let any woodpeckers of the same species within hearing range know that "THIS IS MY territory." They do this during breeding season, which normally starts about mid-February."
Yeah that's what my neighbor said too. That they were just marking their territory.
interesting info about that absorption, and they may act aggressively to even people during breeding season, I think some birds express this feeling, it is funny though, don't say what you are about to say 'you talkin' to me?' just ignore and leave the place:)
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