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Ladder-backed Woodpecker

It has been some time since I posted a woodpecker photograph so I thought I would post an image of a female Ladder-backed Woodpecker that I photographed while at the Pedernales Falls State Park. Woodpeckers are amazing birds. I marvel at their ability to engineer and carve out a perfectly round hole for their family.

I was watching the movie Concussion on the flight back from South Africa. There was a statement made in the movie about woodpeckers and how they have a natural shock absorbing system that prevents them from having brain damage from their repeated pecking, so, I decided to look into it. It goes without saying that we are built completely different from woodpeckers. Their brains are significantly smaller so there is a surface area-to-weight ratio that distributes the force of the impact over the entire region. The woodpecker’s brain fills their entire skull and therefore there is no “sloshing” on impact (like the human brain).  Lastly, the bone structure in and around the brain is quite different in woodpeckers. The structure acts like a natural shock absorber. These physiological differences allow the bird to hit its beak against a tree an estimated 15 miles an hour, 20 times per second (about 12,000 times a day). Truly remarkable.

Ladder-backed Woodpecker - Female
Ladder-backed Woodpecker – Female

This image was taken with my Canon EOS 7D Mark II using my Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 II Lens set on 400 mm. The camera was set on Manual mode with the aperture set at f/8, shutter speed at 1/250th of a second and the ISO set at 1600. This is a single image processed in Lightroom.

You can view my Birds of Texas collection by clicking here. Please use the section below to post your comments, questions, or suggestions.

T. Kahler Photography
© 2016 T. Kahler Photography

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