Earlier this week I had the privilege of seeing a woodpecker on the patio. I was watching a film so was sitting quietly and not moving. From the corner of my eye I spotted movement and looked round to see a beautiful green woodpecker hopping about.
We have regular visits from a great spotted woodpecker and often see him on one of our nut feeders. However, it’s the first time since I moved here (5 years) that I’ve actually seen a green woodpecker.
There are three woodpeckers that breed in Britain – the lesser spotted woodpecker, the great spotted woodpecker and the green woodpecker. Whilst you might not have seen a woodpecker, you may have heard all three types. The lesser and great spotted woodpeckers tap-tap-tap on bark of trees and it sounds like someone drumming or drilling. But more likely, you have heard the call of the green woodpecker. It makes a very loud ‘ack-ack-ack’ sound when it is in flight and its flight pattern is like a wavy line. Since living here, I have heard its call many times and hoped it was only a matter of time before seeing him/her.
Green woodpeckers are sometimes known as yaffles – this is related to the call they make. They are ground feeders and like nothing better than tucking into ants – which is why I’ve never seen one on the nut feeders! Their bodies look more streamlined than their cousins and their shape reminds me of a slender duck.
If you are lucky enough to spot a green woodpecker, try not to move as they are very shy birds and will soon fly off if they detect movement. If they do, you should at least be able to hear their laughing call as they disappear. I hoped that my woodpecker would reappear at the same time the following day, but although I put a film on and sat quietly, there was no sign of him. Which is a shame because our patio is chock-full of juicy ants for him to eat!
Are you fond of our feathered friends? If so then I’ve got some great news for you – we have hundreds of questions on British birds in the Nature section of our site. There you’ll find quizzes on all kinds of birds, from auks to warblers! Not only that, we also have quizzes on mammals, reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates, trees, flowers, minerals… even on outer space! And, they’re all free to play, so go and test your natural knowledge today!