Pied Woodpecker

Pied Woodpecker

This name is deliberately chosen as better than ‘greater spotted’ wood-pecker, for even though it is undeniable that it’s the larger in our two black and white woodpeckers, the two contrasting shirt is distributed in large patches instead of spots.

Although living as much as its name like a borer and excavator of timber looking for insect food, its fondness for nuts along with other nutritious seeds, like a subsidiary diet, has probably resulted in its being a bird-table feeder in places that there are sufficient large trees for everyone as stepping-stones from woodland to garden. To be able to split hard-shelled seeds-and it may deal with plumstones and peachstones in addition to hazel-nuts- one foot is used like a clamp holding the nut against the perch, and the shell is opened with a series of rapid hammer-blows from the strong bill. The outcome is usually a neat splitting, instead of smashing. It will likewise readily take meaty or fatty scraps from the bird-table.

Another less desirable habit in woodland-that of excavating looking for young birds in nest-holes- has additionally been evident in garden-visiting pied woodpeckers, and several a tit-box has already established its entrance enlarged and it is contents eaten. A nest-box cast in concrete to foil such robberies continues to be known to have experienced the entrance considerably enlarged, a testimony both to the hardness of the bill and the power of the muscles behind it.

However in spite of these depredations, this woodlander is welcomed being an exotic adornment to the bird-table, and its clinking call, drumming song and dipping flight are conversant contributions to woodland sounds and sights.

With the recent decline in amounts of the green woodpecker, the pied has become the most widespead and plentiful British woodpecker. It had been never scarce, and the apparently recently-acquired bird-table habit, and the great rise in the provision of these sources of easy food (as well as interested observers who watch them), likely have resulted in its as being a bird more often seen than formerly, as opposed to a more plentiful bird; although without doubt such feeding helps to tide the species over bad winters.

And surely it has spread and increased within the last half century, for this has succeeded in re-colonising Scotland, that it had disappeared in regards to a hundred years ago. It is extremely at home in coniferous woods, so long as mature timber exists, and there pine-seeds, hacked from the cones, are an essential item of diet. It’s absent like a breeding species from Ireland.

Haunts :

Woodland, both deciduous and coniferous, if some mature timber present.

Appearance :

Approximately size starling, but stouter build and shorter tail; pied effect most noticeable on black back with broad white shoulder-patches, also on head, with black crown, white cheeks, as well as on white-barred quill-feathers. Other most striking feature is bright crimson present on lower belly and under tail of both men and women, and additional bar of the same colour between the crown and nape of the male, while juveniles, though lacking crimson underparts, are capped with this particular colour.

Voice :

Call a metallic ‘clink-clink’. Mechanical performance of drumming on resonant wood (sometimes metal) replaces spring song.

Food :

See text above.

Nesting :

Nesting-hole excavated in wood, usually fairly full of main trunk; entrance tunnelled inwards for many inches, then enlarged chamber formed downwards. Although same tree is usually used, a brand new hole is generally made every year. 4-6 glossy white eggs laid on wood-chippings.