About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Toughest Bird in the Neighborhood

Just who is the toughest bird in the neighborhood anyway? Is it the Red-tailed Hawk that soars overhead each afternoon in search of squirrels or the Great Horned Owl that terrorizes the night with its stealthy hunting tactics?

In reality, it's neither of them…it's actually that cute little woodpecker that visits your suet feeder in the backyard!

No joke! That little Downy Woodpecker (or any of its woodpecker relatives) lives a punishing existence that most other birds would probably consider a life of being condemned to hard labor, and they have to be really tough in order to survive it.

And woodpeckers couldn't get much tougher - they are thick-skinned, hard-headed and heavy-hitting!

Their skin is thicker than most other birds in order to protect them from rough tree bark and biting insects. Their reinforced skull and bill are strong enough to withstand blows that exceed ten times the force of gravity as they repeatedly strike a tree at over 13 mph.
The other end of a woodpecker is also built tough. Its' pointed tail feathers are especially strong and rigid, able to withstand the punishment of supporting its own weight as it climbs and clings to trees.

This month can often bring the best tough guy activity of the year to the feeders in your yard. With lots of young woodpeckers around and the molting process in full swing, woodpeckers are seeking the extra calories and proteins that feeders can provide.

Original Article from: WBU Nature News

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