The Woodpecker Saga Continues

Author: Meera, November 26, 2013

The woodpecker is back and apparently intent on taking down our roof strut. As I’ve mentioned inĀ  a previous blog, I believe it is a Nuttall’s Woodpecker (Picoides nuttallii) and possibly a female because of its small size and lack of red color on the back of the head and nape of the neck. The bird was named for naturalist Thomas Nuttal in 1843. It doesn’t eat acorns, yet its habitat is California oak woodlands.



Aluminum foil stuffed into the hole hasn't deterred the Nutall's Woodpecker

Aluminum foil stuffed into the hole hasn’t deterred the Nuttall’s Woodpecker


After making two holes large enough to all but obscure the creature pecking away inside the beam, the woodpecker took off after I shooed him away. But despite me screwing in a screen to cover the two gaping holes, the woodpecker has created two new holes and has made a heck of a mess.



My husband and I awoke to the rat-ta-tat-tating before daylight. After a quick inspection of the woodpecker’s drilling, Carlos told me to stick aluminum foil into the hole until he could return from work today and either saw off the dead wood and reinforce the beam or figure out another solution.



Shavings of wood, foam, and nesting materials characterize the mess on the porch

Shavings of wood, foam, and nesting materials characterize the mess on the porch



In the mess on the porch floor beneath the roof beam are what appearĀ  to be remnants of a nest. Is it possible that the woodpecker once constructed a nest inside that roof beam? They nest in tree cavities, so it isn’t too far of a stretch from a tree to a strut. This industrious female might be trying to create a nest for mating season (January to March), preparing for egg laying in April and May. And interestingly, the male incubates the eggs at night while the female sits on them during the day for a total of about 14 days.



While the woodpecker pecks, I’ve resigned myself to staying in the kitchen, baking our pumpkin and pecan pies for Thanksgiving. All the while, I hear the tapping of a drumbeat as the woodpecker either forages for food (it likes insects and spiders and some berries) or creates a cavity for a nest.


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