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Woodpeckers - Some of Nature's Finest Drummers

Yikes! What's that bird doing, pounding on my house? In early spring, a male flicker may drum on a metal stovepipe or other resonant surface – a pole, a sign, the trunk of a tree – attempting to attract a mate and proclaim his territory. Many other woodpeckers do the same. Let's look at a few...

A Yellow-bellied Sapsucker pounds on a gutter

A Downy Woodpecker works away at a tree

Hoping to woo his lady-love

A Pileated Woodpecker pounds on a dead snag

Meanwhile, a male Hairy Woodpecker works away at a decaying log

A male Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus – the “golden chiseler) drums on a rotting board ...

This adult Acorn Woodpecker was either feeding young in a nest, or storing acorns, behind the lovely decorative eaves on the Madera Kubo Bed & Breakfast. (The Acorn Woodpecker was the inspiration for Woody!)

A Red-bellied Woodpecker favors a snag

And a Red-headed Woodpecker finds his own instrument

While one Red-breasted Sapsucker chooses a cedar fence

And another holds forth on a chimney pipe!


Drumming, drilling, or excavating? It's important to know the difference. Check out this BirdNote show to learn more: Flicker Attack

Here's more about woodpeckers!

Thanks to these photographers for sharing their photographs: Jerry McFarland FCC, Mike Hamilton, Gregg Thompson, Tom Grey, Ilona L FCC, Julie Falk FCC, Edward Byrne FCC, and Jim Culp FCC

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