No one can mistake the loud, rhythmic drumming of the woodpecker. These small birds use their bills to strike away at wood to find food. Generally, woodpeckers will look for insects in dying tree trunks, but they won’t hesitate to drill holes in man-made structures made of cedar, pine, and even synthetic stucco. These materials are softer than hardwoods like oak, making it easy for these birds to batter out nesting holes or hunt for their prey.
What does a Woodpecker look like?
Woodpeckers typically have straight, chisel-like bills for making holes, reinforced skulls to sustain the force of repeated pecking, short legs and strong feet for climbing, and stiff tail feathers for extra leverage. The birds’ nostrils are covered with stiff feathers, as well, to prevent inhalation of wood dust. Finally, woodpeckers have two clawed toes pointing in each direction to help them grasp the sides of trees and balance while they hammer.
What does a Woodpecker eat?
These pests’ primary food source is insects, especially larvae. Woodpeckers peck at tree trunks to explore the wood in search of insects to eat. The birds also consume nuts, fruit, and tree sap.
Due to their propensity for pecking at trees, it’s not surprising that woodpeckers prefer to live in heavily wooded areas. Being cavity nesters makes a forested environment all the more attractive. Males and females work together to excavate tree holes for nesting, opening up pear-shaped chambers and lining them with wood chips.