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Sunday, October 6, 2013

Woodpecker damage? Huh?!

“A woodpecker is killing my tree.”     Really?!

Downy Woodpecker
It’s simply not so!  The woodpecker is telling you, over and over and over, that the tree or shrub is sick. It’s an alert that there are many tunneling insects in the wood (a good thing if you’re a hungry woodpecker) and the tree’s survival is threatened. The weakened tree may topple in a high wind. It could also spread to other vegetation, fall on your house or attract unwanted creatures.


Mistaken identity

Carolina Chickadee
The species of Chickadee here in north Texas has a black “cap” but it isn’t the species called the Black-capped Chickadee.  Ours is the Carolina Chickadee. Both look pretty much the same to you and me, but I bet they can tell the difference.


Squirreling away a bunch of acorns   The ordinary Blue Jay that we see in north Texas can carry several acorns at once. One or two (or more) in its bill and throat, and at least two more in ”built-in shopping bags” in the form of expandable pouches at its throat. The jay carries them away and hides them for later - just like a squirrel. (forgotten nuts, clearly, are responsible for much of our forested lands)

He stashes between 3000 and 5000 acorns and other nuts per season, some of which may be forgotten about, and grow into big trees. The bird might cram them into a crack in a tree’s bark, or bury them in the ground. That’s not counting the ones eaten on the spot.


OWEN YOST, in addition to being a blogger, is a licensed Landscape Architect emeritus who has lived and worked in north Texas for over 30 years. He is a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), International Federation of Landscape Architects, National Wildlife Federation and the Audubon Society. His office is at in Denton.


1 comment:

  1. Even though people mistake the Woodpecker for the Carolina Chickadee the Woodpecker still damage things. They can damage your house and your garden. They will peck away at your house and put holes all over the outside of your house.

    Edmund |