Greater Spotted Woodpecker
The Greater Spotted Woodpecker
These are such smart little birds, about the size of a Black Bird, they look like a well dressed butler wearing best livery with silver buttons. Black, white and scarlet red. White on the breast and black on the upper parts and a bright red rump. The wings are black with white spots and if you are fortunate enough enough to find a feather – you will see clearly how spotted they are. The males have a smart red cap on their head. They have a powerful beak which they use for burrowing for insects and grubs for branches of trees. In the spring you can hear the males drumming on wood to attract a female. They have a shock absorbing skull which allows them to do this hammering. Woodpeckers have a very distinctive swopping flight and wonderful humorous squeak of a call (like Sweeps call in Sooty and Sweep). My garden was bursting with baby woodpeckers when they first fledged. I could hardly tear myself away from the window, their antics were so amusing. Not one to be seen now – moved on I guess till next year.
It is not often I can write this, but Greater Spotted Woodpecker numbers have increased by 300% since the 1970s mainly helped by the Dutch Elm disease which gave them more rotting wood for beetles and bugs.