Infographic: Why don't woodpeckers get headaches?

Why don't woodpeckers get headaches?

Pileated woodpeckers can cause a lot of damage to trees.

The large birds, common in forests across Canada, can hammer deep holes while in search of insects or excavating a nest.

But while the pileated woodpecker spends much of its day hitting its head against , it doesn't ever injure its .

That fact has led the woodpecker to become a valuable teaching tool in McMaster's Integrated Science Program, where instructors teach students about its unique physiology.

Better understanding how the bird protects its brain could even lead to the development of better helmets for high-impact sports like hockey and football.

MPP Garfield Dunlop recently toured iSci facilities and learned about the use of the woodpecker – which he frequently sees in his own backyard – in the program's curriculum.

He later donated a large piece of wood, filled with holes made by a pileated woodpecker, to the program.

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Citation: Infographic: Why don't woodpeckers get headaches? (2015, June 5) retrieved 16 September 2019 from
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User comments

Jun 05, 2015
How would we know if they had "headaches"-would they tell us?

Poor wording for title--Perhaps better stated as "brain injury" rather than headaches.

Jun 10, 2015
I havea couple nesting pairs of Pileated woodpeckers on my woodlot, and I just love them. The drumming is a cheerful sound!

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