What woodpeckers do
If you’re an avid birdwatcher, these are the behaviours to look out for
The most famous woodpecker pastime is drilling holes in wood. This action serves two very important functions. First, it allows the woodpecker to access insects embedded in the tree trunk and opens up a supply of tree sap. It also provides woodpeckers with safe tree hollows in which to nest.
Woodpeckers lack the complex musical abilities of songbirds, so they use their heads instead. Each species has its own unique sequence of drumming sounds that conspecifics can recognise. Banded woodpeckers use this to keep track of one another, as it’s important to stay in touch when mating season arrives.
These birds aren’t kissing; this is an adult bird feeding its baby. Young woodpeckers progress rapidly, and this is partly due to the dedicated care of both parents. Each year the bird pairs only have one clutch of eggs, meaning they put in as much effort as possible to keep them happy and healthy enough to survive.
Any carpenter will know that working with wood creates a great deal of mess. All of that excess bark has to go somewhere, and this black woodpecker has a simple solution: drop it out of the window. This is an important task as it’s imperative for the nest to stay clean for the sake of the chicks.
Gila woodpeckers are most at home on the spiky plants of the American desert, even using their beaks to build holes into the cactus’ stem. The hole is left to dry for several months while the woodpeckers tend to damaged or diseased parts of the cactus, thereby maintaining the plant’s health.
Not all woodpeckers spend their time in trees; they’ll go wherever they can find insects to eat. The European green woodpecker lives most of its life on the ground gobbling up ants, which are plentiful in number. The birds don’t lay their eggs on the soil, however, and may even choose the very tops of trees to stay safe.