Sunday, May 29, 2011
- Woodpeckers are among a very few birds that have zygodactyl feet – which simply means they have two toes pointing forward and two toes pointing backwards. Most birds have an arrangement of three toes forward and one backwards. Having two sets of opposing toes gives them a much better grip on the trees they land on and climb.
- While excavating a cavity, a woodpecker’s head can strike a tree’s surface at speeds up to 13- 15 miles per hour and do it at over 100 strokes per minute. This is equivalent to a person crashing head-first into a tree while running at top speed.
- Woodpeckers may find their hidden prey by sound and/or smell. As the woodpecker strikes the tree, hollow sounds may echo off of the tunnels (galleries) of wood-boring insects (like thumping a watermelon). When feeding on wood, grubs make an audible sound that could be heard by a woodpecker. Woodpeckers have a better sense of smell than most birds and may be able to detect the strong odor of the formic acid that ants, bark beetles and termites excrete (smells like Sweet Tarts).
- When threatened by predators, Downy Woodpeckers will freeze motionless against the trunk of a tree and will not return to normal activities for up to ten minutes.
Downy - 11years - 11 months
Hairy - 15years – 11 months
Pileated - 12years – 11 months
Red-headed - 9years – 11 months
Red-bellied - 12years – 1 month
Northern Flicker - 9years – 2 months
Source: WBU Corporate Content