Worcestershire Record No. 21 April 2007 p. 21


Harry Green

Following my report in Worcestershire Record No. 20 April 2006 page 27 of multiple holes made in a large shed by Green Woodpeckers I received this comment:

Woodpeckers damaging buildings

John Clarke

An elderly lady in Kemerton lives in a wooden bungalow - a timber-framed building clad with wooden shingles. Last winter she was awakened regularly by loud tapping and found holes in the house walls. She saw the bird and says it was definitely a Green Woodpecker. As fast as she got the holes repaired and shingles replaced the bird struck again. At two points it bored through the outer skin, crossed the wall cavity and opened up holes into the loft. I saw some of the holes and they were indeed large enough to have been made by Green Woodpecker. The 'attacks' stopped in early Spring - I didn't ask why!!

Woodpeckers damaging beehives

Shaun Micklewright re-visited the beehives at Wilden Marsh Reserve, near Kidderminster (mentioned in my previous report) and writes:

Hello Harry ,

Please find attached picture of Green Woodpecker damage to bee hives at Wilden. The photo was taken recently (May 2006). The hives are no longer active and none of the damage is recent. Whether the individual bird that attacked the hives some years ago is no longer around or if it was only damaging the hives when they were active it's hard to tell.

Shaun also showed me notes from Bee Craft February 2004 page 9 which says that February is the time when beekeepers should look out for Green Woodpeckers attacking hives. The implication is that other food supplies are low. (Ants provide much of the food supply for Green Woodpeckers. It seems likely that ground-living ants will be less easily accessible in February) The article states that the woodpeckers can destroy the bee colony and recommends protecting hives with plastic sacks or chicken wire in areas where the problem is a serious one. In view of this report perhaps the hives at Wilden were put out of action by the woodpeckers.

We still have no proper explanation of why Green Woodpeckers sometimes bore holes into wooden buildings big enough for the birds to gain access. More comments welcome.

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