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Sat Nov 5, 2016, 08:25 AM

Why Woodpeckers Don't Get Headaches

The birds have some clever adaptations to keep their noggins safe.



Picture of red-headed woodpecker in Nebraska

A red-headed woodpecker works on a tree in Nebraska. The birds have skulls specially
suited to hard labor.

Photograph by Joel Sartore

By Liz Langley
PUBLISHED November 5, 2016

During election season, everyone can relate to woodpeckers: We all feel like banging our heads against the wall.

The birds handle it better, though, so Weird Animal Question of the Week was pleased to look into Derek Halas’ question: “Why don’t woodpeckers get headaches?”

Little Drummer Bird

It's a tough one to answer, says Walter Koenig, an ornithologist at Cornell University via email. But, he says, if pecking caused pain and injury, “presumably they wouldn’t be around for very long"—a hurt bird would likely succumb to predators.

There are more than 300 species of woodpeckers worldwide, and they peck wood for a variety of reasons: To excavate nest cavities, dig for insects or sap, or create holes to store food.

More:
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/11/woodpeckers-brains-injuries-birds/

9 replies, 1176 views

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Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 9 replies Author Time Post
Reply Why Woodpeckers Don't Get Headaches (Original post)
Judi Lynn Nov 2016 OP
underpants Nov 2016 #1
Divine Discontent Nov 2016 #4
allan01 Nov 2016 #2
global1 Nov 2016 #3
Happyhippychick Nov 2016 #5
Thor_MN Nov 2016 #7
Callmecrazy Nov 2016 #6
Javaman Nov 2016 #8
getting old in mke Nov 2016 #9

Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Sat Nov 5, 2016, 08:27 AM

1. Great subject line

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Response to underpants (Reply #1)

Sat Nov 5, 2016, 08:29 AM

4. It made me click, as well. I smiled.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Sat Nov 5, 2016, 08:27 AM

2. apperently the rappid drumming noise they make

is used like singing.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Sat Nov 5, 2016, 08:28 AM

3. Perhaps The NFL Should Study Woodpeckers....

they might get some ideas as to how to minimize concussions & design better helmets.

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Response to global1 (Reply #3)

Sat Nov 5, 2016, 08:39 AM

5. Not sure that would make a difference. Woodpeckers have protection between skull and brain.

The issue with concussion is the brain hitting the skull wall. Second issue is allowing the brain to rest so it can heal.

Sorry, my kid had a concussion and my pediatrician pulled me in to her office for a 45 minute lecture on aftercare, glad she did!

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Response to Happyhippychick (Reply #5)

Sat Nov 5, 2016, 10:21 AM

7. Football players have secondary "skulls", i.e. helmets.

 

If a study of woodpeckers could result in better helmet designs, I'm all for it.

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Response to global1 (Reply #3)

Sat Nov 5, 2016, 09:50 AM

6. That is actually covered in the movie "Concussion" nt

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Mon Nov 7, 2016, 09:53 AM

8. The ornithologists name is Walter Koenig.

I'll just leave that there...

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Response to Javaman (Reply #8)

Mon Nov 7, 2016, 10:16 AM

9. As you should, Keptin. (NT)

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