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A Cheerful Start to the Day!

Posted by sheiladearing on 09 Mar 2010 at 10:16 AM

7.45, Sunday morning - I had just started work at Rosemoor on my weekend duty.

Suddenly, I heard laughing in the trees! What had been tickled? What was so funny I wondered?!

I stared up in to the bare branches of one of the large old oaks and there it was…the black silhouette of a resident green woodpecker. Yaffle, yaffle, yaffle…

It took flight and dived through the air at great speed, landed on a branch and continued to yaffle. Oh, how I wished it would share the joke. Laughter is very contagious though and it had me smiling and chuckling to myself! A nice start to the day…

I decided to find out more about this interesting bird…

Picus viridis, as it is also known, is the largest of our three native species of woodpecker alongside the greater spotted and lesser spotted. The plumage is green and yellow with a flash of red on the top of the head and a very distinctive black 'highwayman's mask'. The underside is pale buff brown.

 It has a very large and powerful beak but despite this characteristic this species is rarely heard pecking away at the trunks of trees. It loves eating ants and will forage on the ground, in the open, and dig for these tasty little morsels. It uses it's long, sticky tongue to help catch the insects.

Green woodpeckers begin breeding from March to June and rear one brood of 5-7 chicks in the hollow of a tree. These fledge after 18-21 days.

So, when you walk through the gardens of Rosemoor, be sure to listen out for this comical bird it will make you smile...

 Penny King, Lady Anne's Garden

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