Larry & Lee Ann's Journey travel blog

Female Hairy Woodpecker at 'her tree', Sylvan Lake in the Black Hills...

The male has arrived with his contribution as well...

This week we are re-arranging our personal belongings, both in the rig and in the storage area at Mom's. We have whittled our 'pile' down considerably but still have decisions to make. Old photos, cassettes and VHS tapes are a real dilemma for me. I just can't seem to 'get rid' of all of the 'past' that's captured on outdated technology. So we are currently trying to learn an easy, affordable way to transfer our 'past' into CD/DVD form. It can be done, but boy will it be time consuming. There are places that will do it for you, but at more cost than we are willing to pay. Besides, much of our cassette music isn't store bought, just music we recorded while playing 'live' on the radio. We also have many hours of family and vacations on video tape (we had one of those big clunky camcorders that used full size VHS tapes) that really needs to be moved to DVD's. Ah well, perhaps we'll store them for another time.

Our tentative schedule is to leave one week from today, destination, Custer, South Dakota, with a brief stop along the way to visit my Uncle Ed and Aunt De in Casper, Wyoming. And cousins Charie and Lisa. We are supposed to arrive in Custer around the 27th/28th. Dad is not feeling well this past week, so his health may alter those plans. We'll just have to wait and see.

In the meantime, I found this article about a woodpecker's eyes and found it interesting. There is a pretty little woodpecker family that live near Sylvan Lake in the Black Hills. We see them every year year. She is such a faithful little mama and we thoroughly enjoy watching her tend to her babies. And papa does his part in providing plenty of bugs as well. We hear them off in the distance doing their rat-a-tat-tat before arriving back to their nest. Sounds so cool. Brings this article into perspective somehow....


A woodpecker opens and closes its eyes in between each rapid-fire peck! The little bird opens its eyes, focuses, aims its beak, closes its eyes and then hits the tree with its pointed beak. Not only does the woodpecker close its eyes to keep the wood chips out, but also for another very important reason. Scientists have measured the force of the impact of the bird's head against the hardwood tree. The force is so powerful that if the bird did not close its eyes when it struck the tree, its eyeballs would pop out! Have you ever seen a blind woodpecker? They never forget to close their eyes.

The woodpecker's rat-a-tat hunt for tree grubs should send it home each night with a mighty migraine. Instead, it is studied by surgeons who want to learn more about head trauma in humans. The woodpecker has not only an industrial-strength beak, but it also has a piece of cartilage between its head and beak that acts as a shock absorber from the continuous drumming. How did it know that it needed to develop that?

In addition to an extra long, spearheaded tongue with barbs that can reach into the tree to pluck out its meal, it also has a mini glue factory that makes the bug stick until it is in the woodpecker's throat. Then it produces another secretion to dissolve the glue upon swallowing! What a fascinating creation!

That's it for now. Time to get busy....Have a nice day!

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