Woodpeckers – One of Nature’s Most Sinister Killers
I’ve been fascinated by our natural world since childhood and have spent countless hours over my lifetime viewing nature documentaries. Technological advances continuously allow us to capture never before seen animal behaviors, not just from newly discovered species but also animals that we’re familiar with. The two below videos that came out a few years ago truly shocked the hell-outta-me (so consider this a warning). I had no clue that woodpeckers were such efficient and brutal killers.
According to Smithsonian.com
“Jerome Jackson, a lifelong woodpecker expert known for his work on the ivory-billed woodpecker, says he’s witnessed this gruesome behavior occasionally in red-bellied and red-headed woodpeckers, both species closely related to the Gila. “They do generally go for the skull and the brains,” says Jackson. “A young bird’s skull is very soft, sometimes parts of it not becoming hard bone until well after the bird leaves the nest. This feeding behavior is essentially the same that the woodpecker would use to feed on a large fruit with a tough rind, only the pulp inside is brain tissue.”
The thing is, woodpeckers aren’t picky. They’ll eat any part of a carcass they can access—including breast meat, lungs, heart and fat deposits, says Jackson. So eating brains may be a seasonal feeding strategy, since nestlings are only really around for a few weeks of the year before they fledge, says Clifford Shackelford, an ornithologist with Texas Parks and Wildlife. In this way, dove brains are like the fresh, local peaches you find at the farmer’s market at the height of ripeness.”
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