Wednesday, June 02, 2010
A few weeks ago I spotted this eyecatching woodpecker on a snag overlooking the marshland in a local county park while walking the marsh's edge and watching a resident beaver eat the leaves of the water lily plant in the marsh. Spring was well on its way and the marsh land was a stunning lime green in the angles of the golden sun. I looked up at the brilliant blue sky and this fellow was very easy to spot even without a bird call.
These redheaded woodpeckers eat both meat and plants but they do like their meat fresh. According to the Cornell bird site this fellow will store live grasshoppers by wedging them in the wood so that they cannot escape before he decides to eat them. Sounds like some horror movie! He also is a robber of nests and killer of the eggs inside. A real horror movie lead.
A little fact you may not know is that these woodpeckers have an exceptionally long tongue, up to 2/3 longer than their bill. This tongue is used as the padding around their brain to prevent concussive damage when they are hammering away at that hard old tree. I wonder if Darwin knew this? I must search to see if I can find an anatomical diagram of this.