Arthur Jacobs

Lesser-spotted woodpecker is a new bird at Upton Warren Wetland Reserve. On 1st October 2002 a male appeared by the East Hide and started to dig a hole in a dead alder. He spent two days digging the hole. Within an hour of the hole being finished a male Great-spotted woodpecker appeared, enlarged the hole and dispossessed the Lesser-spot.

We were very disappointed - we thought the Lesser-spot was going to roost in the hole over the winter, then (DV) attract a mate in 2003, and we would have a breeding pair.

The male Lesser-spot is still about (November 2002), but (as far as we know) is not trying to re-take the hole.

Is this behaviour commonplace? If so it might explain why the Lesser-spot is in decline, while the large bird is doing very well.

Editor's note
I read somewhere fairly recently that one of the major predators of Marsh and Willow Tit nests (low down in rotting stumps) were Great-spotted Woodpeckers, destroying over half the breeding attempts by killing and eating the young, if my memory serves me correctly! Arthur's note came to hand as we went to Press and I have not yet found the reference! Lesser-spots and the two tits often use somewhat similar nesting sites. - Harry Green

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