Why Don’t Woodpeckers Get Concussions or Headaches? (Explained)

The first line of defense for the woodpecker is simply its size: the smaller the brain, the greater the power required to inflict harm.

Being a birdbrain, in a literal sense, is a protective measure against concussions. Woodpeckers have been known to beat their heads up to 20 times per second. 

Second, the woodpecker’s skull is composed of thick yet porous bone that firmly encircles and protects his or her brain. The bird’s neck is made up of a lot of strong, thick muscles, which gives it the ability to bang its head repeatedly. 

How Do Woodpeckers Avoid Head Injury?

Because birds have a little bit of “sub-dural space” between their brains and their skulls, their brains do not have as much room to move about as their human counterparts.

Furthermore, since their brains are longer from top to bottom than from front to back, the force exerted on the skull is distributed across a broader area of the brain.

Red-Headed Woodpecker, Bird, Animal
Figure: woodpecker head

Is It Possible For Woodpeckers To Suffer Brain Damage?

When the brain moves about in the skull, it is possible to sustain an impact injury. Woodpeckers have tiny brains that are packed extremely tightly within their skulls, making them difficult to see.

This implies that there is no room for the brain to move about in the skull and might get injured as a result.

Is It True That Woodpeckers Wrap Their Tongue Around Their Heads?

Yes. A woodpecker’s tongue wrapped around the back of its brain not only provides the bird with a place to store a lengthy appendage but also serves to shield the bird’s brain from harm while the bird is pecking at a tree at rapid speed.

Are Woodpeckers Intelligent?

Woodpeckers are intelligent and industrious birds that have adapted to their environment.

They are attracted to regions where there is food and shelter, much like any other wild animal.

Woodpeckers are likewise drawn to wood-boring insects, which is why they are so common.

What is the Length of a Woodpecker’s Tongue?

The tongue loops around the back of the bird’s head and then emerges through the bill of the bird.

Some species’ tongues may extend up to 5 inches over the tip of the beak, which is disproportionately lengthy when compared to the size of the bird (for comparison, a red-bellied woodpecker is around 9 1/4 inches long).

How Is The Woodpeckers Tongue Used?

Although a woodpecker’s tongue may be used as a spear, piercing and pulling insects to the surface when necessary, the bird is more likely to use it as a rake, extending it into holes and then withdrawing it.

The little hyoid bones and cartilage of birds stretch all the way to the tip of their tongues.

How Is The Woodpeckers Beak Used?

They burrow into trees in order to build nests and to obtain insects to eat, and they utilize their powerful, sharp beaks to do it.

They have learned the art of climbing tree trunks. The beak of a woodpecker may hit wood at speeds of up to 25mph (40km/h).

Woodpeckers use their beaks to hammer into trees in search of insects, which they then take out with their long tongues from the wood.

Pileated Woodpecker, Bird, Perched
Figure: Woodpecker beak

Do Woodpeckers Survive Breaking Their Beak?

They are subjected to huge pressures as a result of their head-pounding pecking on trees and telephone poles; woodpeckers have been seen to bang their beaks against the wood with a force 1,000 times greater than that of gravity.

The chance of survival will be determined by the size of the fracture and the location of the crack. Some cracks and fractures can be repaired, but major cracks or full breaks in the wild would usually result in famine.

Is It Possible To Keep Woodpeckers As Pets?

It is illegal to keep woodpeckers as pets in the United States. Woodpeckers are wild birds, and their numbers are quickly declining as a result of habitat loss.

You are, however, permitted to assist in the care of a sick or wounded woodpecker until you are able to transport it to a wild bird rehabilitation facility. You will not be able to retain the woodpecker once the bird has recovered.

Are Woodpeckers Blue?

It’s bright red, white, and blue-black coloring easily identifies the redheaded woodpecker (Melanerpes erythrocephalus). This species of woodpecker may be seen throughout the year in the eastern United States.

Redheaded Woodpecker, Woodpecker
Figure: Redheaded woodpecker

Do Woodpeckers Inflict Harm On Themselves?

A woodpecker performs the pecking action over 12,000 times every day on average, yet they do not seem to be injured or even concerned by it in the slightest degree. The reason for this is that they have developed specialized headgear to protect their heads, brains, and eyes after millions of years of engaging in this sort of activity.

What Is The Average Life span of Woodpeckers?

Depending on the species, the typical life span of a wild woodpecker ranges from 4 to 11 years.

What Kinds of Trees Do Woodpeckers Like To Nest In?

Because dead or dying trees have much softer wood than live trees, several species of woodpecker use them as nesting sites for their young.

Considering that pine and cedar are both softer woods than oak and other hardwoods, they are favored trees for nesting purposes.

In addition to soft wood objects such as home siding, woodpeckers may peck at any tall item composed of soft wood.

Red-Headed Woodpecker, Bird, Perched
Figure: A woodpecker is building a nest in a dead tree.

What Is The Average Number of Woodpecker Babies?

The female typically produces 2-5 spherical, white eggs in a single clutch. Egg length ranges between 0.8 and 0.8 in (1.9-2 cm).

Due to the hollow nest’s placement inside the tree trunk, it does not need concealment, and the white hue of the eggs enables the parents to detect them even in complete darkness, which is advantageous.

The eggs will be incubated for around 11–14 days until the altricial chicks are born to the couple. The nestlings will be ready to leave the nest about 18–30 days after they are born. 

Are Woodpeckers Harmful?

Because most trees have a certain percentage of deadwood, these birds are generally not regarded to be dangerous or harmful.

They consume nuts, fruit, bird eggs, lizards, and small rodents in addition to these foods. They prefer dead wood for foraging and nest construction because it is easier to work with.

Can I See The Red-headed Woodpecker In the US?

Red-headed woodpeckers may be found across much of North America, with the exception of the Arctic.

They stretch from the Rocky Mountains to the Atlantic Ocean in an east-west direction, and from Lake Winnipeg (Manitoba) and southern Ontario in a north-south direction, all the way to Texas, the Gulf of Mexico, and Florida.

This bird was originally widespread, but it is now only found in small areas across its range.

How Fast Does A Woodpecker’s Head Go?

With their heads moving at around 15 miles per hour, woodpeckers may peck up to 20 times per second.