Sunday, 1 September 2013

So-called 'damage to trees' by woodpeckers

The term 'damage' is often used to describe the holes made by woodpeckers in trees. This term is something of a misnomer however, as it is almost always insects, especially wood-boring beetles, that 'damage' trees and ultimately it is they, together with fungi, that cause tree to rot and die. Woodpeckers hack into timber to prey upon such insects and in many cases are natural controllers of these pests, working on wood that is already infested and largely useless as timber. The standing dead tree in this photo has been beaten-up by woodpeckers in search of the insects which had first bored into and killed the tree. I have observed Black, Eurasian Green, Middle Spotted and Great Spotted Woodpeckers at this spot I regularly visit in the Buda Hills, Hungary. Gerard Gorman.   

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