A Little Love & Respect for the Woodpecker
Our Garden Visitor
Having just moved to our country abode, I was delighted to find an array of birds visiting our garden on a regular basis. I had great fun setting up a couple of bird baths and a bird table with all the usual nuts and seeds.
One day, I was surprised to find a woodpecker pecking away at the peanuts. He too turned out to be a regular and visited most days.
All the other birds seemed to accept him just fine. Surprisingly, even as the woodpecker pecked away at those peanuts for what seemed like hours a day, there seemed to be continual peace and harmony in our garden.
Naturally, I gave our new woodpecker visitor a name - a little obvious I know but it just had to be “Woody”.
Now, if you ask someone what their favourite bird is, the chances are they would return with something cute, such as a robin, sparrow or finch. Or perhaps the admiration would go to the majesty and gracefulness of an eagle or a hawk.
Nobody ever seems to say “It’s the woodpecker for me, what a bird - all that head-banging repetitive stuff and crazy antics”.
However, I have new reasons for giving a little love and respect to the woodpecker. I recently saw a TV programme about the life of this bird and it would seem I had misunderstood and underrated the woodpecker completely. In fact, I am now quite in awe of the incredible hard working and stressful life he lives.
Woodpeckers spend exhausting hours a day creating their own acorn tree, also called a granary. Having watched a woodpecker in action, you can quite understand why it sometimes gets a bit too much for them.
This woodpecker looks quite stressed!
The Woodpecker's Acorn Tree
When the woodpecker has finally drilled his holes, he has to collect his acorns. If the woodpecker is collecting the acorns at the right time of year, they should be in abundance, so this part of the procedure is perhaps a little easier for our woodpecker.
I get twitchy just thinking about the next stage. It needs careful planning and patience!
The woodpecker collects the acorn and takes it back to his drilled acorn tree. He now has to find a hole the right size for the acorn. Eventually, the holes are filled and there is a bit of respite. That is, until the acorns start drying out and then the work really begins. As the acorn dries out, the hole is now too big and so the acorn must be moved to a smaller hole.
This is when the maintenance work starts.
This is frantic work for the woodpecker and it requires a significant amount of the bird’s time. He is constantly moving the acorns from one hole to another and drilling more holes as and when necessary.
Now that I have learnt about the exhausting, stressful life of a woodpecker I welcome him with open arms to a more restful and relaxing time here in my garden. The peanuts here are at his disposal and there is definitely no maintenance work for him to endure!
If Woody wants to call this ‘his space’ then that’s fine by me.