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Duration:03:32
Uploaded:2018-04-12
Last sync:2019-12-06 15:10
Woodpeckers search for food by using their face to dig through tree bark! But why doesn't this give them a headache?

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SOURCES:


https://www.livescience.com/19586-woodpecker-skull-concussions.html
https://www.birdwatchingdaily.com/blog/2013/12/10/woodpeckers-hammer-without-headaches/
http://www.birds.cornell.edu/wp_about/biology.html
[INTRO].

Squeaks and I are playing a guessing game. We’re pretending to be different animals, and guessing what animal the other person is acting like.

Okay, Squeaks, take a guess. [Squeaks guesses correctly]. That’s right! I’m pretending to be a squirrel!

OK, let’s do another one. [Squeaks is very unsure about what animal Jessi is]. Maybe I’ll give you some hints. I have wings, I hold onto trees, and I hit my beak on the tree like this.

You’re right; I’m being a woodpecker! Woodpeckers are a type of bird, and there are different kinds all over the world. They get their name because they all like to peck at things like trees, just like I was pretending to do.

Most woodpeckers are black and white, with some patches of red and yellow. But if there’s a woodpecker nearby, you can usually hear them before you see them. Woodpeckers make loud calling noises, that sound almost like a monkey, and they tap on trees with their beaks.

To help them chip away at the tough wood in a tree, their beaks are long and hard. And when they peck, they move their heads back and forth really fast — so fast that it can sound almost like someone playing a drum. [Squeaks asks a question.] No, Squeaks, they don’t eat the wood. But they are pecking away to get a tasty meal — they’re looking for something else inside the trees to eat.

When a woodpecker begins to peck at a tree, they move little chips of wood out of the way, digging a hole until they find what they’re looking for. Like a tasty grub! A grub is a baby beetle, and some of these little insects like to live inside of trees as they grow up.

Some of these grubs dig little tunnels through trees as they get bigger. So if a woodpecker wants to eat those grubs, first, they have to use their beak to peck away at the tree, making a hole that reaches a grub tunnel. Then, the bird uses their tongue to reach into the tunnel, and pull out any grubs inside.

Woodpeckers have super long tongues, so even if the grub is on the other end of the tunnel, the woodpecker can still reach it. It’s a lot of work to peck through the tree, but they get a tasty snack in the end! [Squeaks asks if it hurts the woodpecker to hit the tree so hard]. Aww, Squeaks wants to know if it hurts the woodpecker to hit their beak against the tree.

Don’t worry! Woodpeckers don’t hurt themselves when they peck at a tree, even when they hit it really hard. You see, woodpeckers have a special skull that keeps them safe.

The skull is the group of bones inside of a woodpecker’s head, just like the skull. I have inside my head, and you have inside yours. Woodpecker’s skulls are very strong and thick.

Just like a helmet keeps your head safe when you ride a bicycle, a woodpecker’s skull will keep them safe when they’re pecking at a tree. Just in case the woodpecker needs any extra padding, they also have some extra, squishier bone that wraps around their skull from the back. The bone goes all the way from the back of their tongue, up and over their skull to where their nose is.

Maybe if my bones did that, I would be even better at pretending to be a woodpecker. What do you think, Squeaks, could you act like a woodpecker? [Squeaks squeaks]. You are a pretty good woodpecker, but I think you’re already a great mouse.

What about you? Can you act like a woodpecker? What other animals do you like to pretend to be?

Have a grown-up help you to leave a comment below, or send us an email at kids@scishow.com. And if you’d like to keep exploring and learning with Squeaks and me, hit the subscribe button. We’ll see you next time, here at the Fort. [ OUTRO ].