Friday, January 17, 2014

Pileated Woodpecker

My first Pileated Woodpecker for the year was at the Holden’s feeder. Once on the list, the species appeared in our back woods. I was surprised to see that the tips of the bill don’t meet. I thought the tips would form a solid surface to enable the pounding. A quick and cursory review of some of the literature fails to find mention of this trait. Can woodpeckers flex their bill tips, perhaps aiding in consumption of tree fruit or suet?
Jerry Jackson, a woodpecker expert, writes that having a bill tip gap is normal. He continues, “the jaws also have some flexibility so that a woodpecker can manipulate small things. Ivory-bills have similar gaps at the tip of a bill that is at rest.” 

No comments:

Post a Comment