Naturalists added to NEWS lineup

Our forested region presently supports a good variety of woodpeckers.

  • Mar. 11, 2014 8:00 p.m.

(Editor’s note: this is the first installment of a new column we will present to readers monthly, produced by members of the Arrowsmith Naturalists. Our thanks to the group.)

Our forested region presently supports a good variety of woodpeckers.

They range in size from the dimunitive 17cm Downie to the impressive 43cm Pileated.

The only larger woodpecker in North America, the Ivory-Billed is reportedly extinct, due to habitat destruction in the Southeast U.S.

Woodpeckers have always fascinated people. Remember “Woody Woodpecker?” Woody’s cartoon “laugh” with the staccato finale imitate one of the Pileated’s calls and that of drumming.

Drumming? Yes! Especially in spring, woodpeckers search out various resonant dead trees, hollow branches, or even man-made structures such as siding that will broadcast sound.

These strong-billed birds apply a series of rapid blows to these “drumming posts” which reverberate loudly sending the sound a good distance to announce the borders of that bird’s territory. The louder the sound, the more impressive—inviting mates and intimidating rivals.

If a drumming post happens to be on your house here’s a tip: Locate the spot the woodpecker is using and cover it temporarily with a piece of Styrofoam, thick layered cardboard, folded tarp or other sound deadening material. The woodpecker will usually move on to a new place. After a couple of weeks, the material can be removed.

As you listen in the forest you’ll notice that drumming is quite different from the quieter “taps” of a woodpecker digging into decaying wood in search of insects. When close to the prey he unrolls and inserts his long specialized barb-tipped saliva-sticky tongue to spear and pull them out.

Each year, a woodpecker pair excavates a new nest cavity. Mated pairs remain together for life and both share the work of raising their chicks and teaching them survival skills

The abandoned former woodpecker nest cavities are extremely important to countless other species such as violet-green swallows, bluebirds, owls, wood ducks, squirrels and others who depend on these cavities to raise their families.

As you enjoy our wonderful trails, see how many woodpecker feeding and nest cavity holes you can spot!

To learn more about woodpeckers and other local critters check out the local Arrowsmith Naturalists activities, and their contact information, at www.arrowsmithnats.org.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Ongoing construction at the intersection of Highway 19 and Highway 4, just outside of Qualicum Beach. (Steve Weldon photo)
New stop lights to be installed where Inland Island Highway meets Alberni Highway

Drivers can expect lane closures during constructions hours

Erin Haluschak visits the VI Free Daily/PQB News studio. (Peter McCully photo)
PQBeat: Erin Haluschak talks missing persons on Vancouver Island, women in media

Podcast: Black Press reporter also talks about importance of women in the media

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

A map showing where the most number of cases were recorded from April 23 to 29. This map, revealing a breakdown of infections by neighborhood, was pulled from a data package leaked to the Vancouver Sun last week (and independently verified).
36 Abbotsford schools flagged for COVID-19 exposures in the last 2 weeks, shattering record

Clearbrook Elementary recorded an ‘exposure’ on all 11 school days

Island Health has confirmed COVID-19 exposures at Ecole des Deux Mondes in Campbell River on May 4 and 5, and at Mill Bay Nature School in Mill Bay on April 28, 29, 30 and May 3. (Metro Creative photo)
Two new COVID-19 school exposures confirmed by Island Health

Health authority contacting anyone exposed at Ecole des Deux Mondes, Mill Bay Nature School

Canada’s chief public health officer is reminding Canadians even those who are fully vaccinated are not immune from transmitting the COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns full vaccination does not equal full protection from COVID-19

Post-inoculation, Theresa Tam says the risk of asymptomatic infection and transmission is far lower but not obsolete

The dash cam footage, taken May 7 at 8:18 a.m. belonged to the driver of a southbound vehicle that recently travelled out of the tunnel. (Reddit/Screen grab)
VIDEO: Dash cam captures dramatic rollover crash on Highway 99

Only one person sustained injuries from the collision, says B.C. Ambulance Services

Chevy stranded on a ledge above a rocky canyon at Mimi Falls near Logan Lake, April 28, 2021. (Photo credit: Margot Wikjord)
Police officer and fire chief team up in risky rescue of stranded dog near Logan Lake

Chevy, a rescue dog, needed rescuing again after getting stuck on a ledge above rocky canyon

Police were on the scene of a fatal shooting in Abbotsford. (Black Press Media files)
B.C. government to give more than $8 million for programs to curb gang violence

221 not-for-profit projects led by local governments and school districts among others will receive a one-time grant

Gord Judson steers his log truck down a forest service road, using two-way radio and call signals to mark his position for oncoming traffic. (B.C. Forest Safety Council)
Planning some B.C. wilderness fishing? Don’t catch a log truck

Remote recreation areas bracing for heavy pandemic pressure

Most Read