Here again it’s been thought logical to call the lesser of the two monochrome woodpeckers by a name which accords using its appearance, for this is obviously barred, without any suggestion of spots. Two facts which will make it seem rarer than (though it is definitely the least plentiful in our three woodpeckers) are its small size-about those of a sparrow-and its practice of frequenting the higher reaches of huge trees.
Once its spring call-a high, clear ‘pee-pee-pee’, often repeated in long series-is known, it’ll often be detected by ear instead of eye; but often the singer is well on a high twig, and could be more simple to spot than the usual drumming pied woodpecker.
This species also drums, but the sound is really similar to those of the other species that it’s useless as a way of identification; it’s proportionately quieter, but the same effect might be produced by a far more distant pied woodpecker.
At the first flight from the nesting-hole families might be seen frequenting lower trees than normal; on the occasion of one such dispersal one parent and three young were seen at close range on the small apple tree, and the ‘pee-pee’ call combined with some ‘chik-chik’ notes was finally traced to the other parent actually perched on the telegraph wires across the road; the reason for its agitation would be a fourth youngster spiralling up the telegraph post.