Woodpeckers

There are more than 20 species of woodpeckers in North America. Woodpeckers have chisel-like beaks and long, flexible tongues designed for drilling and probing under tree bark for insects. They are equipped with powerful claws and stiff tails that help prop them up while climbing trees.

Room and Board
Woodpeckers play an important role in the earth’s ecosystem. They help to control numbers of bark and wood-boring insects, thereby contributing to the health of trees. Where woodpeckers have pecked, other smaller birds can forage successfully for any remaining insects and spiders. Woodpecker holes are also used for nesting or roosting by many other birds.

Behavior
Woodpeckers peck on trees to feed on ants, beetles and worms. You may also see them at your suet or bird feeders looking for nuts and seeds.

Woodpeckers use their beaks to dig out cavities in trees for nesting sites where they lay their eggs in the spring. Rather than singing to attract mates or to announce their territories, woodpeckers drum at specific sites within their domain to announce their presence.

Within drumming range?
Some woodpeckers seek shelter in man-made structures. To deter such activity, try offering nest boxes specifically for woodpeckers. Hang the boxes close to the problem area. Mylar tape attached to eaves of a house or windsocks will deter nest building.

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