Woodpecker Holes in Sour Cherry Bush

farmboy1(5)December 4, 2012

I saw a Downy Woodpecker pecking at the trunks and branches of a sour cherry bush I have the other day. I went out to see what it was pecking at, and found the hole shown in the centers of the attached picture along with some others. The bush shows no sign of any problems (that I can see), and leafed out and bloomed nicely this year despite being a recent transplant and the drought.

Any comments? Just marking the territory?



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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

hey.. long time no see ...

i thought you were into attracting and feeding the wildlife..

what.. now you complain??

best guess.. one hole makes not a plague ...

keep under observation.. and report back ...


    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 5:32PM
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Awww, Ken, so nice of you to think of me....

Been busy with Christmas decorations lately.

I was concerned that the woodpecker's attention was due to something else, such as borers or disease. Hard to imagine he just goes around peckin' on trees and bushes for no reason...


    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 10:47PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

Been busy with Christmas decorations lately

==>> does that mean you found a free in-ground pine.. and chained it to the truck.. and dragged it home.. lol ...

I was concerned that the woodpecker's attention was due to something else, such as borers or disease.

===>> yes there is that potential ... but whats your options .. poison them with a systemic .. and potentially kill the bird???

Hard to imagine he just goes around peckin' on trees and bushes for no reason...

==>> now this is the part i like .. and have actually discussed it with my 14 year old botanist ... lets contemplate.. the the evolution of a bird.. that sole course in life.. is to slam its head into extremely hard surfaces [and sometimes rotting soft surfaces] .. in a quest for food ...

one might suggest.. that after millions of years of slamming their heads into hardwoods.. that they would 'evolve' into a bird that .. and i will yell.. FOUND ANOTHER FREAKING FOOD SOURCE ...

i mean really .. HEY DARWIN .... whats that all about ... [but he's dead.. so we wont wait for his answer] ...

rotflmbo ...

as i said.. and i meant it in regard to borers.. keep an eye on the plant.. and see if you see any tell tales signs.. next year ... otherwise.. for now.. enjoy the idiotic genetic mutation.. that apparently is NOT subject to concussion or headaches ...

and seriously.. why hasnt this bird evolved???? .. anyone???


ps: i mean really .. i have been known to beat my head on a wall .. over some subject ... but crimminey.. i usually figure it all out .. sooner or later.. lol ... and move on with life.. you will rarely see me doing it.. for the shear enjoyment of it ... or for food ... [man some of my best stuff.. is buried.. where no audience will ever see it.. lol.. so consider it a holiday gift to you]

    Bookmark   December 5, 2012 at 7:51AM
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Ken, the bird has evolved to take advantage of a food source others can't get at. Unlike your thick skull, their hard head serves a purpose. The re-inforcement on their skull means they are protecting the brain, and people who study that stuff have found that even the beak has thickened ligaments to prevent knocking the smile off their face. The acute hearing means that they hear the critter in the wood / under the bark chewing. It's like having a private pantry that only you have the combination to get in.

I once watched a pair of Flickers make a nest. They must have started on Friday when I was at work, by Sat. am you could have stowed 2 beer cans in the hole. By Sat. evening the house was built. The male started a hole on the side of a Locust (Robinia pseudoacacia) and the pieces flying out were not sawdust, more like pieces you get from whittling. Long shards of wood, about 3/8" wide, and at least 2X that long. She was in the Pecan tree nearby, chattering up a storm. After he had worked a bit, he would fly out and she would fly in. When she came out, she would alight next to him and he would try to do married people things with her. She would fly off 100 ft or so and scold him. He returned to the hole and kept drilling. After a bit, she would fly back to the Pecan and urge him on. After a while, he came out, she went in and the cycle repeated. About a half dozen cycles, she was satisfied the burrow was to her liking, and they flew off together. I never noticed her working on the hole although a birder friend says both sexes drill. A few trips with dried grass (very few), the house was ready, and they raised a brood. I'm not sure what they were thinking though, the hole was so low I could easily reach it and put my arm in. The nest was too far down for me to reach though, so I know the bird drilled at least 2ft down through the heart of that living tree. Impressive feat of evolution.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 5:20PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

boy .... dzit you are a tough audience for genetic humor ... lol .. ya know.. there isnt a lot to work with .. within that topic ... lol


ps: these two DNA strands.. walk into a bar ... lol

    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 7:33AM
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