27th MARCH 2011:  GREEN WOODPECKER DRUMMING

So today I thought I would have another go at trying to find the Hazelhens (see 12th March), the snow has had two weeks further melting and so the walking was easier but not completely ice-free. I was able to get fairly high up in what I think is an interesting part of the forest and settled down under a tree to listen. In the far distance a Green Woodpecker (Picus viridis) (Pic vert) was calling and moving around the forest, I could also hear other woodpeckers drumming - were they Great Spotted, or Black ? They were some way off so it was hard to tell.

Suddenly I was aware that the Green Woodpecker had moved into a dead tree not far away, I find woodpeckers really interesting and so I turned my parabola in its direction:

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The trouble with Green Woodpeckers is that they call very intermittently and so using my sound editor I shortened the time between those previous calls to make it bearable.

Later the bird became more excited and  started calling more frequently and also doing something else. Now I have read that Green Woodpeckers will drum but only on rare occasions. Gorman (2004) says that when they do it is "not very convincing and rather weak". As I was listening through the parabola and headphones I became aware that between calls it was indeed making a very weak vibrating drumming noise, definitely not feeding sounds which are not rhythmic at all (listen to feeding sounds here). I have not shortened the periods between calls here, it is the natural frequency, a plane was passing but I could not edit it out as it would also have blocked the gentle drumming noise, but you can hear drums from the Green at 12, 35, 38, 59, 1.04, 1.14 and 1.50 - there is also a Great Spotted some distance away making much stronger and clear drummings - serves as a good comparison:

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Gorman (2004) says that they do this next to the nest hole in spring and it may serve as bonding between mates rather than territorial display - but I forgot to look for a hole!  - maybe next time. (Did you hear the Bullfinch make that cry just before the fourth call at 1.22 ?)

No Hazelhens needless to say.....

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