Field Notes: What’s in the Woods Today? Jan. 10, 2018

January 10, 2018 9:51 am

Field Notes: What's in the Woods Today? Jan. 10, 2018

by  Area Forester Lisa Deaton

Snack Bars for Birds

Winter is a time of year when people start to notice damage to their trees.  Yellow-bellied sapsuckers are a member of the woodpecker family, and they can drill an alarming number of holes into a single tree in search of sap and insects. poplar sapsucker

This is a large yellow-poplar in Gloucester County.







While the holes are certainly an injury that can allow fungi and bacteria to enter a tree, the holes do not generally cause a great deal of harm.



pine 2 sapsucker

Pecan tree in King William County                   Loblolly pine in Gloucester County

Other woodpecker species common to Virginia are the downy woodpecker, hairy woodpecker, red-headed woodpecker, red-bellied woodpecker, northern flicker, and pileated woodpecker – the largest of them all.  These species dine mainly on insects and will pull apart decomposing wood on the ground and in standing trees as they hunt for food.

woodpecker log on ground

If you see wood chips or flakes at the base of a tree…

woodpecker flakes base of tree

simply look up, and you will see the tree top that is serving as a “snack bar in the sky.”

woodpecker tree top


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