Branch Membership

This is the third suet block hung up this winter. I’ve seen the odd Chickadee picking at it, but I set it up to attract the Downy Woodpeckers that I’ve noticed around here since we moved in.


This is a Downy Woodpecker (photo courtesy of E.g.).

This morning, I removed all the smaller branches off the felled poplar limb (see yesterday’s post). Only a few needed to be sawed; the rest snapped off with a brief tug. Old poplar wood can get pretty punky. It’s soft and spongy…

…and insects love it.  Maybe Seabrooke knows who made these little holes…

…but whoever it was, they certainly were tasty! Umm, to birds, that is. This woodpecker hole is 4 inches long by an inch wide by two inches deep. Again, Seabrooke would have a better idea than me whether the bird who chipped this out was a Downy, a Hairy, or — gasp! — a Pileated, like the one I saw landing on that same poplar tree for a few moments last October.

14 Responses to Branch Membership

  1. Alyson says:

    He is an enchanting little fellow! I think I heard a woodpecker when I was in Central Park last year and I was so excited…..ahhh the thrill of the strange!

  2. lavenderbay says:

    There should be a short story entitled, “Other People’s Birds”, I think, Alyson.

  3. Anne Gibert says:

    I have been having fun reading and seeing your sweet, quirky and diversely interesting blog. I love finding new blogs.

  4. hello lavenderbay its dennis the vizsla dog hay kyoot woodpecker!!! but wurd of advice dont hire wun as yore atturnee!!! ok bye

  5. lavenderbay says:

    Welcome, Anne! I’ve gone to have a peek at your blog, and was flattered to see V of the T blogrolled. I do believe I will return the compliment!

    Hi Dennis, from what I’ve seen of your latest troubles, I’d have to agree with you. Would you recommend Bob Newhart?

  6. Jingle says:

    cute post,
    I love the motion and fun elements in it.

  7. lavenderbay says:

    It’s hard to beat a Downy Woodpecker for motion and fun elements, Jingle. No wait, I take that back: a Black-capped Chickadee will beat the Downy on both counts.

  8. Have you seen the “log’ feeders that are available these days? (Walmart!) I’ve found my woodpeckers prefer them to the suet cakes. No idea on the bugs beyond wood borers, but good investigative journalism!

  9. Seabrooke says:

    Thanks for pointing me to you recent posts, Lavenderbay! For some reason, Bloglines hasn’t imported them yet, so I didn’t know there were new ones up. As much as I like the convenience of a feed aggregator, it’s a nuisance when it’s slow to collect new content.

    Can’t say what the insect trails are from. I’m only much good at the really distinctive ones. 😉 I would suspect a boring beetle of some kind, but if the tunnels sort of weave through the whole branch, carpenter ant might be another possibility. If you Google ‘bark beetle galleries’ or something like that, you can find a few websites that offer sort of field guides to engraving patterns, which may or may not help you ID it. 🙂

    My guess for the woodpecker hole would be Hairy Woodpecker. It seems a little large for a Downy, who I think of as mostly just doing small holes, not whole excavations, but I don’t typically expect Pileateds out on smaller branches.

  10. lavenderbay says:

    Maybe I could try making a log feeder, Barefootheart. It would look a little more naturalized than the closet extender rods and bungie cords that hold that metal suet cage; and furthermore, it would be a great excuse to buy an electric drill! Thanks, too, for your compliment. “Investigative journalism”: that sounds so classy!

    I check my blogsurfer for the most recent WordPress posts, Seabrooke, and find it isn’t quite accurate either; a couple of blogs, including your mother’s, show up out of chronological order, and I’ve thought they hadn’t posted. Using the blogroll on my homepage seems the best way not to miss anyone’s latest.
    Ants…hmmm… The holes certainly do go right to the centre of this piece of branch. I’ve also noticed what seems to be sawdust backfill stuffing some of the surface tunnels. Maybe I should watch for Flickers?!
    Hairy woodpeckers makes sense to me. I think they’re hanging around here too, but because Hairys tend to be shyer than Downys, I’ve assumed that the ones who don’t mind me and barking dogs in the backyard are Downys. There’s a beautiful round hole in the Silver Maple out front — the work of a Downy, I gather — that looks as though it belongs on a putting green, perfectly round as opposed to these oblong dugouts I found on the dead poplar branch.
    Thanks, Seabrooke!

  11. S. Le says:

    We have loads of woodpeckers and nuthatches and titmouses. We live in a woods. We also put out suet cakes and they are frequented frequently. Lovely photos.

  12. lavenderbay says:

    Thanks, S. Le! Titmice, eh? I’d love to see one. There aren’t all that many in Ontario, and none in New Brunswick. There are Nuthatches, though, and they can win Cute Awards no problem.

  13. lolarusa says:

    That is a marvelous bird photo.

  14. lavenderbay says:

    Thanks on behalf of E.g., Lolarusa! Photography is E.g.’s passion, and she’s become quite good at it over the years.

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