Monday, September 14, 2009

I went for a run on Saturday afternoon when I began hearing a loud incessant knocking. I decided to run over to it since the bird had caught my eye. Though I know of a woodpecker, I don't know too much about the bird itself.

The pileated woodpecker, whose scientific name is dryocopus pileatus, seems to be an incredibly hard worker as it's head is in constant movement trying to get food from inside the tree. The bird's beak has a sharp, pointed beak in order to get through the wood for insects. What took me by surprise was to discover that the woodpecker has a glue-like substance on the end of its 4-inch tongue in order to grab insects. It also has two clawed toes that point in each direction, allowing it to grasp onto the tree for balance. Besides insects, they also eat fruits, acorns and nuts.

While most would say that the sole purpose for woodpeckers knocking on trees is to search for food, they do it to communicate with other woodpeckers as well. It is also known to be a form of mating call.

The bird is quite small as it average from 19 to 21 inches in height and weighs only 1 pound. With being such a small bird, it is greatly harmed by human settling and different pesticides. This has led to some woodpeckers being listed on the endangered species list. The specific ones are the ivory-billed, the red-cockaded, and the imperial woodpeckers. This was something I found interesting because I had no idea that there was any sort of true threat to these birds. Most of it, I am sure, is due to the building of several developments and apartments around the United States. The human population itself has unfortunately been a very destructive force.

1 comment:

  1. Andrew, are you sure it was a pileated woodpecker? If so, it's really not such a small bird. The downy and hairy woodpeckers are smaller.