The habitat of the woodpecker
Trees are the most essential environmental feature a woodpecker looks for. Woodland provides multiple food sources, a safe nesting site and cover from aerial predators. As there are so many different species, an enormous range of forests are important to woodpeckers worldwide, from African savannah to bamboo forests. Some species have very specific needs, like the acorn woodpecker. These birds live in large groups and hoard acorns from oak trees, defending their food as a flock.
Dead or rotting trees are essential for woodpeckers in Europe, but until the 1970s forest managers would remove fallen trees. Since then, decaying wood has been left to recycle its nutrients and harbour insects for woodpeckers to eat.
Along with keeping insects under control, woodpeckers provide a free hotel service to other tree creatures. The hollows these birds excavate provide shelter to species that can’t drill once the woodpeckers have moved on. The disappearance of woodpeckers would cause devastation for a great number of animals and trees.
Wood isn’t just for birds, however. Humans use wood for all sorts of products that are needed on a daily basis. Even worse, sometimes trees are removed to make way for other activities. In the Amazon Rainforest, where woodpecker diversity is at its peak, trees are routinely torn out of the Earth to make way for landscape-destroying mining or to make room for low-cost cattle ranching. As the human population continues to increase, we must be mindful about how we are treating the environment, as it may soon be too late to take action. Woodpeckers are but one cog in the machine of nature, and removing even one species may have a staggering effect on the organisms that remain behind.
“The disappearance of woodpeckers would cause devastation for animals and trees”