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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been watching a small woodpecker in the ornamental crabapple tree in our yard on and off for the last 15 minutes. It seems to be "taking inventory" on every major branch. And I've seen similar woodpeckers on the ornamental crabapple in the front yard as well. Both trees have a number of branches and twigs with lichen on them and less foliage in recent years. I know woodpeckers look for insects under the bark, and tend to check out dead or dying trees for such treats.

What I don't know is whether this is a sign of something about to happen soon, or something far off in the future. It'd be nice to keep those trees. I don't know if they might be saved/salvaged by lopping a few diseased branches off.
 

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Speculation, but I would wager that if the woodpeckers are that busy it's the bugs affecting the tree more than the birds. If the tree is looking overly holey maybe hire other predators to help kill the bugs without such invasive hunting tactics? I was amused to find that you can buy ladybugs and praying mantis's by the thousands through costco. Apparently they're great for keeping pests in check. I've never even seen a praying mantis in the wild, it would be interesting to unleash a couple thousand of them on the neighborhood.
 

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They are strange finicky trees, but you absolutely want to prune it if it has dead or dying branches. It will prevent the rot from spreading and the trees tend to respond very well to it, especially if they haven't been doing well.

We had an ugly half dead one in the back yard, I did major surgery on it about 3 years ago and it is doing really, really well. Tons more flowers in the spring and better leaf cover in the summer.

Now is the time to do it, just before the leaves come out:

How to Prune a Crabapple Tree
 

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I have a cedar sided house. Every spring one shows up about 7 am, climbs under my soffit and goes to town right outside my bedroom window. I slam the wall where he is and he fly’s off to repeat the same thing every morning for 4-5 days in a row before flying off farther North. One year I came back from vacation to find he had pecked a hole through my siding and was living in the wall. I had the pink insulation he’d pulled out strewn all over my back yard. Asshole bird.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Speculation, but I would wager that if the woodpeckers are that busy it's the bugs affecting the tree more than the birds. If the tree is looking overly holey maybe hire other predators to help kill the bugs without such invasive hunting tactics? I was amused to find that you can buy ladybugs and praying mantis's by the thousands through costco. Apparently they're great for keeping pests in check. I've never even seen a praying mantis in the wild, it would be interesting to unleash a couple thousand of them on the neighborhood.
I used to see mantises in the area when I was a kid. If there can be such a thing, they are my favorite insect. We have a picture of our older son on the floor staring at one close up, when he was 2-ish.
 

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Speculation, but I would wager that if the woodpeckers are that busy it's the bugs affecting the tree more than the birds. If the tree is looking overly holey maybe hire other predators to help kill the bugs without such invasive hunting tactics? I was amused to find that you can buy ladybugs and praying mantis's by the thousands through costco. Apparently they're great for keeping pests in check. I've never even seen a praying mantis in the wild, it would be interesting to unleash a couple thousand of them on the neighborhood.
 

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If it was a pileated woodpecker, it would definitely signal the tree was dying. Other species, I am not so sure.
 

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Seems a crapshoot to me. We've got a deciduous full of woodpecker holes and has been for 10 years plus, still greens up every year.
We had a conifer that was nice and green, woodpecker started going at it and the next year it was brown and dead.
Some crabapple trees that are probably pushing 100 years old, completely hollow, still bearing fruit every year. Never seen a woodpecker in the orchard though.
 

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I used to see mantises in the area when I was a kid. If there can be such a thing, they are my favorite insect. We have a picture of our older son on the floor staring at one close up, when he was 2-ish.
I have to find a video from last summer. I saw one while I was cutting the grass. I picked it up and held it for a while before it flew off. It was mid sized. I videoed the encounter. Super cool.

I’m out in the country tho.
 

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I have one that likes my old TV antenna at daylight
I have seen them do that many times. I've always wondered why.

There was in interesting article on woodpeckers in our Awake magazine a number of years ago discussing why their brains weren't damaging by their relentless pounding on trees with their beaks. I copied it and pasted it below.


Was It Designed?

The Woodpecker’s Shock-Absorbing Head

● A g-force measuring between 80 and 100 is strong enough to give you a concussion. Yet, the woodpecker sustains a g-force of about 1,200 as it drums its bill against tree bark. How does this bird perform his task, evidently without even getting a headache, much less a concussion?

Consider: Researchers have discovered four structures of the woodpecker’s head that make it shock-absorbent:

1. A strong yet flexible bill

2. A hyoid—a structure of bone and elastic tissue that wraps around the skull

3. An area of spongy bone in the skull

4. Little space for cerebral-spinal fluid between the skull and the brain

Each of these elements absorbs mechanical shock, allowing the woodpecker to strike a tree at a rate of up to 22 times per second with no injury to the brain.

Inspired by the woodpecker’s head, researchers have developed a casing that can withstand a g-force of up to 60,000. Their success may lead to, among other things, better protection for aircraft flight recorders, which currently can withstand a g-force of only about 1,000. Kim Blackburn, an engineer at Cranfield University in the United Kingdom, says that what has been discovered about the woodpecker’s head provides “a fascinating example of how nature develops highly advanced structures in combination to solve what at first seems to be an impossible challenge.”
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I had heard an item on Quirks and Quarks, easily 15 or more years back, about researchers investigating that area, since, viewed in terms of human anatomy, woodpeckers should, by all rights, be severely brain-damaged. Always wondered what became of that.
 

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I have one that likes my old TV antenna at daylight
I have seen them do that many times. I've always wondered why.
They usually do this sort of activity around breeding season,to either attract a mate or to establish a territory.
The louder the better apparently.
We have one in our yard that likes the page-wire fence,he'll sit on the post and hammer on the staple that holds the fencing,the noise travels up and down the line .
 

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They usually do this sort of activity around breeding season,to either attract a mate or to establish a territory.
The louder the better apparently.
We have one in our yard that likes the page-wire fence,he'll sit on the post and hammer on the staple that holds the fencing,the noise travels up and down the line .
Huh, well there you go. I finally got the answer after wondering about it for 50 years. Thanks for the post Bubb.
 

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Huh, well there you go. I finally got the answer after wondering about it for 50 years. Thanks for the post Bubb.
Think of the ones who sound off on trees or logs as the acoustic guitar woodpeckers,
the ones who pound on metal are the electric players with the Marshall stacks.

Funny,we have had Downy and Hairy woodpeckers at our feeders all winter,at least 2 pairs of each,they came and went with no bother to one another.
The last week or so,it's almost been a brawl on the deck when a couple of the same species show up at the same time.
The females seem especially nasty to each other.
 
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