This month the Beeston Birdman talks about Woodpeckers.
Three of a Kind – British Woodpeckers
Situated within easy flying distance of woodland and open green spaces our garden attracts a variety of birds including two species of woodpecker.
To encourage them I put a wildlife peanut butter mix into holes drilled in our bird feeder post. This proves irresistible to most birds but the highlight was when whole family of Great Spotted Woodpeckers paid regular visits in the summer of 2019.
The picture below shows the male (left) and one of the juveniles. The female is similar to the male but lacks the red patch on its head and the juvenile sports a red cap which fades as it matures. Using their tails like a third leg they brace themselves to drill into trees for insects and communicate by drumming on hollow branches. About the size of blackbirds, great spotted woodpeckers are widespread in wooded areas throughout the UK.
Over twice the size of its great spotted cousin, the less common Green Woodpecker feeds exclusively on ants. The picture above shows one foraging in our garden in June 2021.
This large bird has an undulating flight and a loud call reminiscent of laughter earning it the common name of ‘yaffle.’ Keep your eyes and ears open for these colourful birds in any of our local wild places or maybe on your lawn.
By far the smallest and the rarest UK woodpecker is the Lesser Spotted Woodpecker. I count myself very fortunate to have spotted this elusive bird just once in March 2018. The picture below right shows two views of it clinging to a tree beside the lake in Wollaton Park.
A tiny bird, about the size of a sparrow, this example is a male, indicated by its red cap. According to the recently published reference book, ‘The Birds of Nottinghamshire’, Wollaton Park is the best location in this part of the county to see this elusive bird.
Green, great or lesser spotted woodpeckers, are all part of what’s Wild about Beeston.
More pictures by Beeston Birdman are available online at: www.beestonbirdman.blog