Mariton: Busy as a Woodpecker

March 12, 2018

by Tim Burris, Preserve Manager

It always amazes me when I walk by a tree that a beaver has felled.  The pile of chips around the stump, the quickness with which the beaver does its work.  For a guy that wields a  chainsaw regularly, it is a true wonder.

The pile of woodchips around this stump is not beaver work, but the product of a Pileated Woodpecker.  Obviously, the stump has been there for awhile.  The turkey tail fungus growing on top of the stump indicates that there is a lot of internal activity in the dead wood.  Still it is amazing that a bird weighing 300 grams (~11 ounces) reduced a quarter of this stump to chips in so little time.  The goal was not to build a dam, or a lodge but to find insects for food.  Imagine the amount of insect calories gathered in exchange for the calories expended to find them.