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Why Do Woodpeckers Peck Wood?
We've Been Asking Ourselves This Since Our Childhood
Woodpeckers are birds with long, sharp beaks. But have you ever wondered “why do woodpeckers peck wood?” Woodpeckers use their beaks to make holes in tree trunks. Woodpeckers are irritating, but it is a dreadful problem if they are pecking holes in your trees. So why do woodpeckers peck trees? We’ll get to know everything in this article soon.
Around the globe, there are approximately 200 varieties of woodpecker species. The lifespan of woodpeckers ranges from 4 to 12 years. Woodpeckers majorly shelter in forests and woodland environments. Also, most woodpeckers spend the entire year in a single locality. It’s challenging to dislodge a woodpecker from its region.
Although it’s a myth that woodpeckers eat wood, the truth is these birds drill holes in wood to build nests to prey on worms and bugs. During bright daylight, woodpeckers are hyperactive, and they sleep in dim light.
Where Do Woodpeckers live?
Woodpeckers peck and hollow nest cavities mostly in forests for their livelihood. You can see a woodpecker’s attempt to nest when they dig a large, deep hole in the tree bark. Nesting holes are rectangular or spherical but are larger than regular holes.
Although a woodpecker’s nest is the largest and the most noticeable, no one wants it to be on their tree. Woodpeckers are picky when it comes to choosing a tree for nesting. They select trees with a hard outer shell and a soft inner shell. Some species build new nests every year, while some reuse their nests.
Woodpeckers lay 6 to 8 eggs at once inside their nest, which the female woodpecker nurses. As per the Migratory Bird Act, humans are prohibited from touching or moving eggs from a settled woodpecker nest.
Are Woodpeckers Territorial?
Woodpeckers peck in a rhythm to indicate an area as their territory. We call a loud rhythmic pecking “drumming.” Quickly repeated pecks on a hard surface are defined as drumming used by most woodpeckers to declare their territories and seek mates by communicating. We hear this kind of pecking mainly during the mating season in spring.
Different species have different and unique patterns varying in the number of beats, duration of gaps between pecks, intensity, and rhythm. Drumming is mainly a territorial call which male birds mostly do more than females. Another reason for drumming is to let their mate know that they’ve made a nest.
Why Does a Woodpeckers Peck on Tree?
Woodpeckers peck into trees for food or to make a nesting place.
Like any other creature on this planet, woodpeckers have their unique way of finding food. For example, kingfishers come to the water surface and dip their feet into the water to catch fish.
However, woodpeckers have a different strategy. When they see worms, ants, or other insects within a wood, they start to peck to get at them. Interestingly, they utilize their amazingly long tongue to catch those insects once they create an opening on the bark of a tree.
Why do Woodpeckers Peck on Metal?
Some experts believe that there are two reasons behind woodpeckers choosing to peck metal:
- To attract females towards them.
- To mark territories.
The sounds that come from pecking metals have a greater satisfaction for Woodpeckers. The reverberation from metals has the most pecking effect and makes the Woodpeckers feel more content. This is because the sound from pecking metals is greater than the sound from wood on trees.
Woodpeckers peck or drum on metals the most during the months of spring. This is the peak time for Woodpeckers to do this. Driving Woodpeckers out of their territory is extremely hard because these birds are very stubborn and persistent.
The most common issue people face is the frequency of pecking by Woodpeckers. Though Woodpeckers peck wood only for a few weeks or months, the problem is that they peck multiple times in a day which makes the whole process very irritating.
What Time of the Day Do Woodpeckers Peck?
Woodpeckers mostly peck during the day. They peck wood till the sun is out, and there is still daylight. They will keep pecking as long as there is daylight.
How Fast Do Woodpeckers Peck?
The speed at which Woodpeckers peck can be as fast as 20 times per second. They can peck 8000-12,000 times in a day. Woodpeckers can peck almost everything.
Do Woodpeckers Eat Wood?
Woodpeckers don’t eat wood. Instead, they drill into wood looking for larvae, beetles, and insects. While pecking, Woodpeckers use their beaks while feeding. They extract insects out of the wood.
While you may think that they are just hitting the wood, they feed on the insects beneath the wood in the trees. They mostly feed on insects from dead trees. A tree trunk is where most of the Woodpeckers feed due to the presence of miniature insects.
Do Woodpeckers Eat Termites?
Yes, Woodpeckers eat termites. Woodpeckers peck parts of houses also because generally, these places are termite-infested, and the woodpeckers will peck these places looking for food.
Do Woodpeckers Eat Ants?
Yes, they do. Also, you would be surprised to know that woodpeckers eat the most ants compared to other birds. Other animals usually avoid or don’t eat ants because ants sting and have formic acid inside their bodies, a toxic chemical.
Do Woodpeckers Peck at Night?
Well, long answer short, no. But, a long answer is, not generally. During the daytime, Woodpeckers love to do what they do best, i.e., pecking into trees or any other stuff they can get their beaks on. But, if you’re hearing a noise similar to a Woodpecker pecking into a tree, is not a Woodpecker.
The reason is Woodpeckers are diurnal. Diurnal animals stay awake and active only during the daytime and are inactive or resting during the nighttime. Hence, they do not peck at night. Like humans, Woodpeckers have a similar sleep cycle, and they usually sleep at night while working during the day.
Woodpeckers choose to remain silent during the night and do their everyday chores. Woodpeckers are very similar to human beings because they are also diurnal just like humans.
How to Stop Woodpeckers From Pecking a House?
Woodpeckers drill not only trees but wooden structures of people’s houses too. There are multiple ways to keep Woodpeckers from pecking a house. Not only do woodpeckers peck on trees, but sometimes they peck on the wood structure of your home.
There are many ways in which you can repel the birds away. Also, get familiar with woodpecker behavior to prevent further damage.
The number one reason for Woodpeckers pecking your house is the presence of termites or bugs in your house. So, search places in your home for any signs of pest infestation. The pest infestation may also be in the form of dead insects. Hence, not necessary that the infestation is always from alive insects.
If you find any signs of insect infestation in your house, get pest control done.
- Keep a bird feeder far from your house so that the Woodpeckers don’t come around your house and damage your property or house. Also, take the help of reflective tapes.
- Another fail-proof way to prevent woodpeckers from pecking healthy trees is to wrap your trees with a material that prohibits them from drilling into them. You can cover your trees with a metal sheet or foam of any kind.
- Use water sprinklers to water the areas around your house. By doing so, you will alarm the birds as the sprinklers will create noise and also shoot water. But these methods are not that effective.
- You can also place wind chimes in your area or around your house, which will scare away the birds with their sound.
Do Woodpeckers Sing?
Woodpeckers do not sing. The sounds that they make are mostly drumming or pecking noises. This is how they usually communicate with the other birds. While they are not vocally gifted like other songbird species, they make some noises that may feel like they are singing a song.
They do have their “calls,” which comprise a multitude of notes. They lack that certain melody required to make a melodious song or tune. A woodpecker drumming must not be mistaken as him singing.
Final Words – Why Do Woodpeckers Peck Wood?
Sometimes, woodpeckers can be irritating because they make blatant sounds of pecking into trees. There are many types of woodpeckers, a cartoon woodpecker, a woody woodpecker, a red-bellied woodpecker, etc.
Woodpeckers love pecking woods, especially pine trees and fruit trees. However, knowing about their pecking behavior is essential because your house may also be vulnerable to woodpecker damage.
Woodpeckers mark their territory and attract mates by pecking wood. While these birds are magnificent, they damage properties and can prove a nuisance.