Birdwatching Canada

A voice for the northern birds

Pileated Woodpecker Video

At a height of around 17 inches, pileated woodpeckers are the largest woodpeckers in North America (unless someone finds a live Ivory-billed). They are found in dense mature forests throughout Canada, and in the eastern half of the USA.

Rarely seen, they are a birdwatchers delight when they are spotted. If you’re looking for them in the woods, look for the long rectangular or oval holes they have excavated. Both males and females have the red cap, but that of the male is more extensive.

This video gives a perfect view of the unique woodpecker body type, with their legs facing forward for gripping, instead of down for walking.

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more about “Pileated Woodpecker Video“, posted with vodpod
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Walloping Woodpeckers

Work crews in a Texas city have been busy replacing more than 20 woodpecker damaged light poles, at a cost of more than $30,000. The city considered replacing the wooden light poles with steel beams, but the cost would have doubled.

The poles, installed in 2002, were planned to have a life expectancy of at least 25 years.

The birds carved holes more than 12 feet long within the poles, providing nest areas for woodpeckers, hawks and flying squirrels. The cavities apparently weaken poles and make them subject to falling down in high winds or ice storms.

A biologist for the Wildlife Department said woodpeckers damage utility poles for three main reasons — setting up territories, attracting mates during breeding season and constructing a nest cavity. Woodpeckers also chase insects that invade outer portions of the older poles.

Instead of spending $30,000 to replace wooden poles with more wooden poles, perhaps the city should just install attack spiders.

At 18" (47 cm) the Pileated is Canada's largest woodpecker

At 18" (47 cm) the Pileated is Canada's largest woodpecker

An enterprising entrepreneur has invented the Birds-Away Attack Spider. It’s a battery operated, sound activated device to be installed where woodpeckers are a problem. When the dinner-plate sized gadget detects a loud noise, it drops down its 18 inch string and makes a loud noise that scares away the bird. Then the device climbs back up its string to await the next victim.

Testimonials on the website report, with varying degrees of glee, that the device has terrorized pets, deer, children and unsuspecting package-deliverers as well as woodpeckers.

Filed under: Woodpeckers, ,

Flicker Wake-up Call

I was quietly enjoying my first cup of coffee this morning, watching the house finches, black-capped chickadees and white-breasted nuthatches at our feeders. Suddenly it sounded like someone had started a jack-hammer in my living room. Then it stopped. Then started again.

Not really at my brightest until I’ve consumed at least one cup of java, I was totally bewildered for a minute or two. I got up, looked out my window, twisted my head to a ridiculous angle and discovered a northern flicker on the roof overhang,  hammering on our eaves trough.

I’ve seen them using the handy, sound-reverberating tin on houses before. Hammering away on the sheet metal surrounding the chimney vent for example.

As we have a large number of trees in our yard, I can only assume they have figured out their sound carries farther when they use metal. And this behaviour is more often seen in the spring.

Clever birds – using material provided by the very creatures who have changed their landscape forever. They could wait until I’ve had my coffee, though.

Filed under: Woodpeckers,

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