woodpecker exploration???

ATH

Well-Known Member
Client called to ask about woodpecker activity. Almost looks like it could have been squirrels, but be saw the birds. They were there for a short while and haven't been back for two weeks or more.

Lower hole doesn't go anywhere. Upper hole is associated with a crack. I can stick a probe in about 10" (17" diameter at that point) - but can't go to either side.

This doesn't look like feeding damage. No evidence of recent insect activity in the tree (but could have been ant eggs in there?). My best guess is that they were exploring to determine whether these were worthy nesting cavities - they decided they were not and moved on.

Am I totally off? I am not an ornithologist and don't pretend to be so my guess isn't based on a knowledge of expected bird behavior but rather it is based on trying to make sense of what I saw. Open to alternative theories.

Ultimately, I think the answer is "monitor".

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evo

Well-Known Member
Client called to ask about woodpecker activity. Almost looks like it could have been squirrels, but be saw the birds. They were there for a short while and haven't been back for two weeks or more.

Lower hole doesn't go anywhere. Upper hole is associated with a crack. I can stick a probe in about 10" (17" diameter at that point) - but can't go to either side.

This doesn't look like feeding damage. No evidence of recent insect activity in the tree (but could have been ant eggs in there?). My best guess is that they were exploring to determine whether these were worthy nesting cavities - they decided they were not and moved on.

Am I totally off? I am not an ornithologist and don't pretend to be so my guess isn't based on a knowledge of expected bird behavior but rather it is based on trying to make sense of what I saw. Open to alternative theories.

Ultimately, I think the answer is "monitor".

View attachment 58755
You’re pretty right on. They often make multiple nests because the male attracts the female by nest building abilities and not by good looks. The sub adult males often practice
 

ATH

Well-Known Member
Pileated Woodpecker nesting holes
These are higher than most I see. Like I said I'm not an expert in this area, so I'm not disagreeing with that at all. This is near my house, so would be cool to see a pileated around here. Most of the woodlots are smaller in this area and I only see Pileated woodpeckers a couple times a year when I am in larger forests.
 

Tom Dunlap

Here from the beginning
I've understood that woodpeckers don't do much pecking to explore or search. They peck to excavate. That's what I got from an article that said they can hear bugs even before they excavate. Nesting is a much different drive though.
 
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JD3000

Most well-known member
These are higher than most I see. Like I said I'm not an expert in this area, so I'm not disagreeing with that at all. This is near my house, so would be cool to see a pileated around here. Most of the woodlots are smaller in this area and I only see Pileated woodpeckers a couple times a year when I am in larger forests.
Yeah I only see them in deeper woods myself.
 

ATH

Well-Known Member
That is what I've always thought. I understand that holes like these are Pileated...don't remember why I came to that conclustion. I've never seen a bird fly into or out of the nest...somebody probably told me along the way and I've just run with it LOL.

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evo

Well-Known Member
That is what I've always thought. I understand that holes like these are Pileated...don't remember why I came to that conclustion. I've never seen a bird fly into or out of the nest...somebody probably told me along the way and I've just run with it LOL.

View attachment 58776
The other behavior is simply banging on something to entice a mate. Around here they have found banging their heads on shit just to make noise, things like guard rails, street signs, and chimney caps. Had one that banged it skull on our chimney cap all spring long at 4:30 am on the dot. Sounded like a machine gun in the living room
 

evo

Well-Known Member
That is what I've always thought. I understand that holes like these are Pileated...don't remember why I came to that conclustion. I've never seen a bird fly into or out of the nest...somebody probably told me along the way and I've just run with it LOL.

View attachment 58776
That does seem to be pileated for sure, but not nesting holes, as they go much higher for nesting sites. More likely sounding holes or practicing..
 
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Tom Dunlap

Here from the beginning
The other behavior is simply banging on something to entice a mate. Around here they have found banging their heads on shit just to make noise, things like guard rails, street signs, and chimney caps. Had one that banged it skull on our chimney cap all spring long at 4:30 am on the dot. Sounded like a machine gun in the living room
Yup..had that too. The house was under attack! When Iwnet outside 'my bird' hammered out a 10-15 rhythm hits...and the same rhythm was answered by competition about a block away.

I got up on the roof with a can of white lithium grease. End of their Keith Moon antics!
 

ATH

Well-Known Member
That does seem to be pileated for sure, but not nesting holes, as they go much higher for nesting sites. More likely sounding holes or practicing..
OK...that makes a lot of sense. Always thought nesting holes at 3-4' high seemed like a poor survival strategy! And I had never seen nesting material in them...
Learn something new every day!
 
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