What woodpeckers die from and what not

Table of contents:

What woodpeckers die from and what not
What woodpeckers die from and what not

Most of us are familiar with woodpeckers. These birds fly all day long, flying from tree to tree, climbing the trunk and breaking bark and wood with their sharp beak, looking for pests. This fractional knock was heard by everyone who has been in the forest. Woodpeckers hollow out a tree with such force that if any other bird happened in their place, it would die, unable to withstand even five minutes. But the heroes of this article cannot live otherwise.

In the article we will tell you what a woodpecker can die from.

What are these birds?

A large group of tree-climbing woodpeckers are well known for their ability to perch on an upright tree trunk, looking for bugs, insect larvae, termites and ants. These birds are not very good, although they fly fast. They have a straight and thin, but strong beak, similar to a small chisel, and most often a brightly colored plumage.

Woodpecker spreading its wings
Woodpecker spreading its wings

The size of the birdswoodpeckers can be different depending on the species: from the smallest golden-fronted representative weighing only 7 grams and a body length of 8 centimeters to a large Mullerian woodpecker. The weight of the latter is already 450 grams with a size of 50 centimeters. But these are the inhabitants of South Asia and America. And how do they live, what do the woodpeckers living in the Russian open spaces die from (large motley, small motley, yellow, wryneck, green and gray woodpeckers)?

The woodpecker doesn't have a headache

The biggest surprise is the fact that a small bird per second makes about 20 hits on a tree trunk, and about 12 thousand per day. She throws her head back with a big negative acceleration. At the same time, the characteristic woodpecker "trills", consisting of fractional blows, can be quite long. After all, the bird uses them not only to search for food: it needs them during the mating season to communicate with the female and to warn possible competitors that this area is already occupied. By the way, the sound of a woodpecker can be heard at a distance of one and a half kilometers.

It has been established that the head of this bird experiences a load comparable to that exerted on astronauts during the launch of a spacecraft. With a little clarification - it's twice as big!

From what do woodpeckers die if the bird does not harm its he alth with a knock at all? And how does a bird withstand such a load?

black woodpecker
black woodpecker

In 2006, this natural phenomenon was explained by two ornithologists from the United States, who were even awarded for the discovery of the Ig Nobel, that is, the Anti-Nobel Prize. Despite these more than modest laurels, scientists were able to explain in detail the reason for the resistance of the woodpecker under such hellish loads.

Ornithologists have given several reasons why the woodpecker's body does not suffer at all from its natural lifestyle. That is, if woodpeckers die from something, then it’s not from knocking.

You can tell these birds have some kind of comprehensive security system.

First of all, the woodpecker's beak is straight and hard. It touches the wood strictly perpendicularly, without vibrating from impact and without bending.

Secondly, the bird has a special structure of the skull: the bones are separated from the brain by a thin but viscous layer of intracranial fluid, which has the ability to dampen shock waves dangerous to the brain.

Woodpeckers have another important shock absorber. It is called a hyoid and is a cartilaginous sublingual formation that enters the nasopharynx and wraps around the skull.

The skeletal system of a bird contains a lot of spongy matter - especially the cranium. This nuance of the structure is more typical for chicks than for adult birds, but woodpeckers retain it all their lives. Thus, we will not find the answer to the question "what woodpeckers die from" in these details.

The sight of the bird does not suffer at all. With each impact on a tree trunk, the third eyelid (otherwise called the "nictitating membrane") of the woodpecker falls, which protects the eye from sawdust flying upon impact.

How then to answer the question?

Why can woodpeckers die?

The average life expectancy of different types of woodpeckers is from 5 to 11 years. But not all of them live to an advanced age - after all, woodpeckers have a lot of enemies in their natural habitat.

Woodpecker on a tree
Woodpecker on a tree

They can be caught as prey by many birds of prey: falcons, owls, owls and hawks. They can be attacked by any of the predatory animals, such as a marten, a fox, a lynx, an ermine, and even a large snake. Woodpecker nests are actively destroyed by squirrels and dormice. Finally, the bird may die from disease or old age. But the woodpecker is not in danger of concussion.

This is how we found out what woodpeckers can die from.