How Do Woodpeckers Not Peck Themselves Silly?

RedHeadedWoodpeckerDrumming_StephenPatten_PhotoContestThe next time someone attempts to humor you with one of their shy did the chicken cross the road jokes, raise them a better one. Ask them how the woodpecker managed to not suffer a concussion after pecking a hole into that tree that took you an hour to saw a branch off. Now watch them drift into deep thought as they ponder over how that’s possible. Rally though, just what is it that allows these birds to drive their bills into hard wood, foraging for food and drilling up nesting hollows and not getting very badly shaken up at the very least? If you’ve ever so much as tried hammering a nail into a tree for whatever reason, you’ll know how hard the wood is. Yet these funny little birds manage to do this on a daily basis without damaging their beaks or anything. Woodpeckers feed off of sap and insects in a tree’s bark and can peck at speeds of 15mph. These birds have strong neck muscles and two forward and two backward facing claws to help them latch onto a tree’s bark, distributing the force of the impact and keeping the bird in place for more accurate