Do woodpeckers get brain damage?

Woodpeckers are a type of bird in the Picidae family. Members of this bird are known to forage for insect prey on the trunks and branches of trees. Woodpeckers tend to hang around trees and utilize them to the fullest. Woodpeckers are intelligent birds, and they do what they do for a reason.

Woodpeckers don’t drum into the wood for no reason like some people think. They drum into the wood to search for food, create a nesting site, attract males, and establish a territory for other birds to see. Drumming into a tree helps a woodpecker to survive. Though this helps the woodpecker, trees can also be damaged by them. The relationship between a woodpecker and a tree is parasitic. The woodpeckers get many benefits while the trees get distressed and can catch diseases transmitted from the bird. The holes they leave can also allow other harmful insects to enter the tree. In some extreme cases, woodpeckers cause the trunk of a tree to become girdled and lead to its death.

Woodpeckers drum a tree repeatedly but don’t seem to take any effect because of this. An average woodpecker strikes a tree 20 times per second, 1,200g per point of impact. In the National Football League, a concussion occurs when a football player gets hit at 80g. The normal effects of brain damage are headaches, confusion, memory problems, and nausea. The standard way somebody can get brain damage is from a blow or jolt to the head. Usually, the results from brain damage are irreversible.

Any animal can get brain damage just some are more protected from it than others. Woodpeckers are one animal that does not get brain damage even though they slam their break into a tree up to 20 times per second. They don’t get brain damage because woodpeckers have impact-absorbing adaptations that most birds don’t have. Woodpeckers have specialized skull bones, neck muscles, beaks, and tongue bones. Their skull bone is very thin and does not have much fluid that separates the brain from the skull. This means the skull is adapted to be harder and tougher. They also have an extra eyelid to protect their brains. The last factor that protects woodpeckers is that muscles tightly pack their brains in the skull and a compressible bone. Having these specialties helps woodpeckers protect their brains from any damage that comes from pecking wood.