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.

Monday, December 17, 2018

Woodpecker's super power

I bought a decorative suet feeder that doesn't hold the suet cake firmly and I am worried the woodpeckers won't be able to reach the food. Should I melt some suet cakes together to make it bigger?

Woodpeckers are well-equipped to pry food out difficult situations. Most people know woodpeckers use their beak like a chisel searching for insect larvae in the barks of trees. But bugs don’t want to get eaten and they tuck tight in tiny crevices to hide. That’s when the woodpecker pulls out a secret weapon, his long, barbed tongue.

Woodpeckers’ tongues act like a spear with sticky barbs that can extend up to 4 inches. The tongue starts out on top of the mouth, passes through the right nostril, between the eyes, divides in two, arches over the top of the skull and around the back part of the skull passing on either side of the neck, coming forward through the lower mouth.

Tiny bones within the entire length of woodpecker's tongue fold up like an accordion. When a woodpecker contracts his muscles the tongue is propelled out of the bill. When the muscles relax the tongue shortens. The woodpeckers' tongue is also super sensitive. It contains muscles that move it side to side as well to search for food and feel for unseen food behind dead wood or in feeders.

Watch the video of woodpeckers in action on a Wild Birds Unlimited Tail Prop suet feeder: https://youtu.be/EI9a1Wb6duk
Related Articles:
How do I stop woodpeckers from pecking on my house? http://bit.ly/KGItqF
What’s the best suet for Michigan wild birds? http://bit.ly/tcKasp
Hairy Woodpecker vs. Downy Woodpecker http://goo.gl/WMH31
How many woodpeckers are in Michigan? http://goo.gl/P2qRv
How do I Attract Woodpeckers? http://bit.ly/o4CLqI

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