How to Ride a Woodpecker

Here's your nightly math! Just 5 quick minutes of number fun for kids and parents at home. Read a cool fun fact, followed by math riddles at different levels so everyone can jump in. Your kids will love you for it.

How to Ride a Woodpecker

March 8, 2019

When we want to fly somewhere, we hop on a plane. Wild animals can’t do that — but if they’re crazy enough, they can hop onto a bird. The brave, tiny weasel in the photo really is riding that woodpecker. Photographer Martin Le-May heard some loud animal noises, and when he looked up he saw the pair sailing through the air! The weasel probably wanted to eat the woodpecker for lunch, but the big strong bird was able to take off into the air. Once they landed again, the bird shook off the bad guy and flew away. Weasels are 8 inches long at most and weigh about 1 pound; green woodpeckers are about the same length and weigh even less! So that’s one strong bird — and after all that, one hungry weasel.

Wee ones: Who has fewer legs, the bird (2 legs) or the weasel (4 legs)?

Little kids: If that wacky animal pair has flown for 3 seconds, what numbers would you say to count off the next 5?  Bonus: If the weasel weighs 15 ounces and the woodpecker just 10 ounces, how much more does the weasel weigh than the bird carrying him?

Big kids: Woodpeckers can peck a tree up to 20 times a second! If the woodpecker pecked for 3 seconds before the weasel pounced, how many pecks had it pecked?  Bonus: If the bird gobbled up 1 bug for every 5 pecks, how much lunch did it get before the fight? (Hint if needed: what if he got one for every 10 pecks?)












Wee ones: The bird.

Little kids: 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.  Bonus: 5 ounces more.

Big kids: 60 pecks.  Bonus: 12 bugs.

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About the Author

Laura Overdeck

Laura Overdeck

Laura Bilodeau Overdeck is founder and president of Bedtime Math Foundation. Her goal is to make math as playful for kids as it was for her when she was a child. Her mom had Laura baking before she could walk, and her dad had her using power tools at a very unsafe age, measuring lengths, widths and angles in the process. Armed with this early love of numbers, Laura went on to get a BA in astrophysics from Princeton University, and an MBA from the Wharton School of Business; she continues to star-gaze today. Laura’s other interests include her three lively children, chocolate, extreme vehicles, and Lego Mindstorms.

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