You’ve probably heard (either in person or on TV) a woodpecker at work. The woodpecker pecks its strong bill at an amazing rate of 20 pecks per second. They do this for several reasons.
First, this rapid drumming is used as a mating call. The woodpecker’s rapid drumming can be heard for half a mile! It’s too bad they have a headache once the mate arrives – just kidding!
Second, the pecking creates a hole for a nest, with the wood chips it leaves forming a cushion for the woodpecker’s eggs. Yep, a woodpecker creates his own furniture!
But most of the woodpecker’s pecking is done in search of food. Once the hole is made, the woodpecker’s long tongue shoots into the hole and spears insects on a barb at the tip of its tongue. A sticky saliva on the tongue also helps trap the food.
So how do they do it? The woodpecker’s toes flair out, enabling it to climb the trunks of trees and stop and feed at any point. A stiff spine in its tail helps support the woodpecker on the tree trunk. Although it eats mainly insects, berries, nuts, and fruit are also part of the woodpecker’s diet.
We salute the woodpecker as one of nature’s top woodworkers. We’re glad they don’t do restoration, repair, and refinishing – or we’d be out of business!