Do woodpeckers kill trees? NO! Regardless of how big a woodpecker is, these birds could never in their capacity kill a tree. However, it could be worrisome how much nuisance and noise you feel they cause right outside your bedrooms or garage.
But if you are worried that so much pecking might be the end of the tree, then you are unnecessarily worried. Woodpeckers cannot kill any tree, but in rare cases, they might serve as an accessory to already intrinsic damage.
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Let’s take it from the bottom; woodpeckers do not eat wood just as you wouldn’t eat your pot where the food is made.
What sounds like a good Chicago-styled juicy pizza to woodpeckers are wood-boring insects and insect larvae. When the time comes to hunt for these insects within trees or wood, the woodpecker is not hesitant to peck as much as required to get to these worms.
So, when you witness these live woodpecker actions, it only explains the fact that there’s a good possibility that the wood is already infested with worms and insects that attract the woodpecker.
Most of the woodpeckers’ action occurs in winter when it’s mostly dry, and insects breed better within wood and tree bark.
A majority of these insects get themselves buried deep beneath the tree bark. It’s this breading nature that attracts a woodpecker to these trees.
But there’s more! Woodpeckers are not always looking for food when they peck at your trees. Sometimes the pecking is done with the intent of advertising for a mate.
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Yes, you read that right!
Male woodpeckers generate a characteristic mating sound when they peck at trees. That sound attracts female woodpeckers. Most mating activities occur during the bird’s breeding and nesting period.
While pecking at the tree might attract female woodpeckers, it sounds like a warning signal for other male woodpeckers to steer clear of the area.
Most woodpeckers are strategic with the kind of wood they peck at for breeding. And it’s usually a loud spot that makes sending the message a lot easier.
Objectively, woodpeckers impact minor damage to trees. These damages are classified as insignificant because they do not eventually lead to the death of the tree. However, we can notice the holes in the bore in whatever tree they peck at.
Overall, the woodpecker is a vital piece of the ecosystem as their pecking activities help the forest stay healthy.
But it’s not clear-cut black and blue because sometimes, it might feel as though the woodpecker has a bad influence on the individual tree.
There are simply three reasons and causes for the woodpecker.
Food, Nesting, and Communication.
Before a woodpecker can feed off a tree, there must be some indication that the tree is already infested with worms or ants that are eating up the healthy portion of the tree.
So, most three are assumed to be already hurt before most woodpeckers start. Ideally, the woodpecker saves the tree in that scenario.
Compared to other birds, the woodpeckers cannot produce birdsong. So, drumming(pecking) replaces it. This drumming serves as a method to communicate warnings and to also attract females during the breeding season.
To achieve both, the drumming must be loud and quite persistent. When it has to drum this loud, the woodpecker opts only for hollow branches with a dead cavity that can make its drumming exercise very resounding.
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Remember we mentioned that woodpeckers have three objectives of pecking, and one of these objectives includes nesting.
Here’s the ticker;
Nesting is not as harmful to the tree as you probably think, although it involves digging a large hole into your tree so it could accommodate the woodpecker.
The cavities that are created inside the trees are beneficial in two ways;
They provide shelter for cavity-nesting animals like the squirrel.
The presence of a woodpeckers’ cavity is a signal for damage-causing worms and insects to steer clear of your tree and woods.
Conclusion | Do Woodpeckers Kill Trees?
Trees and woods have a complicated interaction that benefits both ways, although it might seem as if only the woodpecker benefits from the relationship.
But do woodpeckers kill trees? No, as I mentioned earlier, woodpeckers do not kill trees, so if you see them anywhere on your trees, you have nothing to worry out.
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