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Woodpeckers Carve Out Roost Cavities, Too

Excavation time - again!
© Chad Wilson View Large

In spring, we often hear woodpeckers hard at work, carving out nest holes in tree trunks. And now that fall has arrived, we may hear that excavating sound again. Some woodpecker species stay year round in the region where they nest, while others migrate south in winter. Those that remain, like this Pileated Woodpecker, are chiseling out roosting cavities, snug hollows where they’ll shelter during the cold nights of fall and winter.

Full Transcript

Transcript: 

BirdNote®  
Woodpeckers Carve Out Roost Cavities, Too
Written by Bob Sundstrom

This is BirdNote.

[Pileated Woodpecker chiseling a nest hole] 

A familiar sound of spring: a woodpecker hard at work, carving out a nest hole in a tree trunk [woodpecker chiseling a nest hole]. Here the female will lay her eggs and the pair will raise their young. When you’re lucky, you can hear young woodpeckers, like these Pileated Woodpeckers begging from within the trunk. [Young Pileated Woodpeckers begging] 

But now that fall has arrived, we may hear an excavating sound again – [Pileated Woodpecker excavating a roost hole] 

What’s going on? 

It turns out that some woodpecker species stay year round in the region where they nest, while others migrate south in winter. Those that remain through the colder months – well, it’s safe to say they’re not nesting now. No, these fall excavators are chiseling out roosting cavities, snug hollows where they’ll shelter during the cold nights of fall and winter. 

Many woodpeckers roost in such cavities, usually by themselves. Even the young, once they’re fledged, have to find their own winter quarters. 

With woodpeckers, once the nights turn cold, it’s every bird for itself. [Pileated Woodpecker chiseling a nest hole] 

Writers for BirdNote include Bob Sundstrom, Ellen Blackstone, Todd Peterson, Dennis Paulson and Chris Peterson. Our producer is John Kessler. For BirdNote, I’m Mary McCann. [Pileated Woodpecker chiseling a nest hole]

###

Bird sounds provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York.  Pileated Woodpecker excavating a cavity [119461] recorded by G.A. Keller; and begging calls of Pileated Woodpecker [63120] by G.A. Keller.
BirdNote’s theme music was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
© 2015 Tune In to Nature.org    October  2013/2017   Narrator: Mary McCann

ID#  woodpecker-09-2013-10-28 woodpecker-09               

Information sources include: Alexander Skutch, Birds Asleep, U. of Texas press, 1989.

http://www.fs.fed.us/pnw/sciencef/scifi57.pdf                 http://www.sialis.org/dowobio.htm 

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