Arizona Woodpecker, Picoides arizonae:
Santa Rita Lodge; Madera Canyon, Arizona
A slow shutter speed was used captures an Arizona Woodpecker in the middle of a strike on a tree trunk. Why do woodpeckers not get concussions when they strike a tree with a force of almost 1,000 times that of gravity? According to Live Science,
“Researchers had previously figured out that thick neck muscles diffuse the blow, and a third inner eyelid prevents the birds' eyeballs from popping out. Now, scientists from Beihang University in Beijing and the Wuhan University of Technology have taken a closer look at the thick bone that cushions a woodpecker's brain. By comparing specimens of great spotted woodpeckers (Dendrocopos major) with the similarly sized Mongolian skylark, the researchers learned that adaptations in the most minute structure of the woodpecker bones give the skull its super strength.
Notably, the woodpecker's brain is surrounded by thick, plate like spongy bone. At a microscopic level, woodpeckers have a large number of trabeculae, tiny beamlike projections of bone that form the mineral "mesh" that makes up this spongy bone plate. These trabeculae are also closer together than they are in the skylark skull, suggesting this microstructure acts as armor protecting the brain.”
To read more on this story go to Livescience at: http://www.livescience.com/19586-woodpecker-skull-concussions.html
Nikon D300, Nikkor 500mm f/4, 1/15 second @ f/7.1