Thursday, 30 October 2014

Woodpecker damage ?

Here is a fine example of the foraging work of a Black Woodpecker Dryocopus martius. An impressively large hole has been opened up on this trunk, big enough for a man's hand to easily fit inside. Looking at this, it might be thought that the woodpecker has killed the tree.. but has it really? The tree here is also adorned with fungi and the woodpecker workings are fairly fresh, newer than the fungi. It is clear that the tree was already doomed before the woodpecker opened it up in search of the invertebrates that live inside the rotten timber. And that is the key point, that woodpeckers that hack into timber are looking for prey and most prey lives inside trees that are already dying or dead. 

2 comments:

Johanna van de Woestijne said...

People often ask about the survival of a tree after woodpeckers have been at work on it, so this was a very good topic. Do you have any information about sapsucker damage with sap wells? The Redbreasted Sapsuckers that visit our trees don't seem to have done any harm, as they have visited out native California Pepper Trees for well into a second decade now.

Gerard Gorman said...

Hi Johanna, thanks. I don't have any info on sapsuckers and tree survival that you probably cannot access in the USA. There must be some real sapsucker experts there. But I would guess that sapsuckers generally harvest sap/trees, rather than abuse them, if you know what I mean. Gerard.