Monday, March 25, 2013

Some Dis-assembly Required

When it comes to Pileated woodpeckers, it doesn't get any better than picking over a rotten log for ants and other insects that break down wood. One windless, storm-less evening after dark my wife and I heard a loud crash. Turned out to be this dead pine which I had apparently not been paying enough attention to. Believe it or not, it did not put even a small scratch in the deck. Branches on the lower side propped it up and stopped it just an inch or so from damaging the top rail! That happened in November, 2006 and I left it there until sometime around March and used it as a backdrop for birds and squirrels.

This photo and the next were taken in January, 2012, and shows the same trunk which I had dragged into the woods after I cut it up.

Much of the "damage" to this log was done by the Pileated woodpeckers searching for insects. I have also seen Downy and Red-bellied Woodpeckers on the log. To my way of thinking, good land management isn't removing deadfalls, but leaving them to decay naturally and provide sustenance for the critters around the house.

Walking the creek below our house one time, I came across this tree stump that the Pileated Woodpeckers had been working on.

If you were only able to look at the tree's bark, you would never guess the tree was that far gone. How many hours do you think they had worked on this stump? Trees like this are why Pileated Woodpeckers prefer mature woods.

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