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Old And Sold Antiques Digest Article

Birds - The Woodpecker

( Originally Published 1894 )

The green Woodpecker is the variety best known in England, where it inhabits the woods and feeds upon the insects it finds in the bark of trees. Audubon writing of the " Ivory-billed " variety says:-" The birds pay great regard to the particular situation of the tree, and the inclination of its trunk; first, because they prefer retirement, and again, because they are anxious to secure the aperture against the access of water during beating rains. To prevent such a calamity the hole is generally dug immediately under the junction of a large branch with the trunk. It is first bored horizontally for a few inches, then directly downwards, and not in a spiral manner as some people have imagined. According to circumstances, this cavity is more or less deep, being sometimes more than ten inches, whilst at other times it reaches three feet downwards into the core of the tree. The average diameter of the different nests which I have examined was about seven inches within, although the entrance, which is perfectly round, is only just large enough to admit the bird."Wilson declares that during the excavation of its nest, which occupies several days, the woodpecker will often carry the chips and strew them at a distance to divert suspicion. Audubon describing the Red-headed Woodpecker says:- With the exception of the mocking bird, I know no species so gay and frolicsome. Their whole life is one of pleasure."

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