Sunday, February 15, 2009

Nature's home Builder, the Pileated Woodpecker

In today's walk the second exhibit I encountered was the hard work of the pileated woodpecker [Dryocopus pileatus]. The bird, as it seeks food such as insects in the trees, hollows out sizable holes which make ideal nests for small bird or mammals. The huge chips of wood in the snow bely that the construction was quite recent, and this size of wood chip is typical of the pileated.

The woodpecker must be able to hear the insects inside the tree. Some think that the woodpecker damages trees while in fact the tree by now is already rotted or insect infested in the centre.

In woodlot management it is recommended that a number of dead trees be left standing to provide habitat for animals. This tree will likely serve as a home for some animal one day.

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