Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Pileated Woodpecker

Pileated Woodpecker / Oil on black canvas / 5x7 unframed / $68


AS I WATCHED A WOODPECKER do his business on the white dogwood in my front yard, I began to wonder why woodpeckers don't get concussions. Or maybe they do, and one never hears about it? After all, I have few chatty woodpecker friends. 

Apparently, according to Samantha Hauserman, a biologist with Arizona State University, woodpeckers' hyoid bones (all you detective-fiction fans know what they are) are arranged more or less like seatbelts inside their skulls. These bones protect the woodpecker's brain, and help its skull absorb the shock. 

Though it looks like your average woodpecker is hammering away at the same spot again and again, he is really varying his pecking pattern in a way that spreads the force of the blows around. 

And finally, Woody has a sort of overbite to his beak that helps distribute the force of the pecking blows. 


Today, I am grateful for the love and the warm snuggles that my dog friends share with me. I am grateful for their good cheer, their buoyant celebrations, their delight in pretty much everything. In their own ways, they are models of behavior for me. 

For Today

The Dog

The truth I do not stretch or shove
When I state that the dog is full of love.
I've also found by actual test
A wet dog is the lovingest.

- Ogden Nash

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