A flying carpenter!

Posted by on Jul 11, 2012 in Big Toe Blog, Waddle on the Wildside | 0 comments

Something odd is raining from the sky. Swords of sunlight are slicing through the canopy of ancient trees in Parque Pumalin, southern Chile. It cannot be rain.

We squint into the mossy tops of the trees. Ferns and plants (the air plants) drape over the surfaces, scrambling for light and catching water and nutrients from the air.

We can’t see anything, but every-now-and-then we’re splatted by pieces of bark and moss?!

Suddenly a flash of a wing catches our eyes!

It’s black and hammering at a dead branch. A female Magellanic woodpecker! We have never seen one before.

Her dagger bill drills at the wood with incredible ferocity. With every drill her “top-knot” shakes and she flings debris from the branch in apparent disgust!

She is excavating the branch in search of fat grubs. There is nothing better than a juicy fat beetle larvae to satisfy a light lunch craving for a woodpecker! Just like other woodpeckers, she has an extremely long tongue that coils inside of her skull. As soon as she finds the invertebrate she is looking for, quick as a flash, she flicks her sticky tongue into the hole and snatches it up!

Click Here for an amazing short BBC film with David Attenborough showing a territorial Megallanic woodpecker warning away David! Plus an in depth species profile of the woodpecker by Conservacion Patagonica.

http://wdfw.wa.gov/living/woodpeckers.html

Leave a Reply