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Sunday, January 12, 2014

The unique way a woodpecker eats suet

Red-bellied Woodpecker
If you look closely, you’ll see that a woodpecker has many tiny barbs on the end of his (or her) long, narrow tongue.  So the tongue has sort of a bottle-brush shape. The barbs catch on the suet and break off tiny pieces. The “regular” part of the tongue brings these pieces into the woodpecker’s mouth. Although many birds peck at suet with their beaks, only our woodpeckers (in north Texas, the Downy Woodpeckers, Hairy Woodpeckers and Red-bellied Woodpeckers are common) are adapted like this.
Hairy Woodpecker


A birdfeeder outsides a sick person’s window has a magical healing effect. Of course it can’t replace following the advice of a physician, like taking aspirin, or whatever’s prescribed, but helps quite a bit. This helps even if the illness is just feeling depressed, tired, a cold or something else relatively minor.

  It has been proven over and over that people who experience nature are able to recover more quickly and completely from stressful events. A birdfeeder is one of the cheapest and quickest ways to experience some nature. Both heart rate and muscle tension decrease much faster in stressed individuals when watching bird activity. 

The calming effects are certainly quantifiable.  I’ve put a feeder (actually two) and a birdbath outside the window of my home office. When I’m feeling particularly stressed, just looking out the window for a while helps noticeably calm and refresh me.


OWEN YOST, in addition to being a blogger, is a licensed Landscape Architect emeritus who has lived and worked in north Texas for over 30 years. He is the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award of the Native Plant Society of Texas, and is a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), International Federation of Landscape Architects, National Wildlife Federation and the Audubon Society. His office is at in Denton.


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