London has about eight million trees across the capital, backed up by countless young saplings. The trees provide food and shelter for wildlife, including woodland specialists such as great spotted woodpeckers, now raising their young in nest holes high above the ground.

The recently-hatched chicks are calling to their parents in high-pitched peeps and squeals, and fattening up on a diet of insects and larvae. The chicks will fledge and leave the nest after about three weeks — some will go with mum, others with dad — to explore our woods, parks and gardens.

Great spotted woodpeckers are perhaps best known for their loud “drumming”, in which they strike dead trees and branches with their bills in short, rapid bursts. The noise advertises ownership of territories and keeps couples in touch. Some have even learnt to hammer on old rooftop TV aerials, sending out a noisy signal to their woodpecker neighbours.

They can chisel 10cm deep into trees in search of larvae but enjoy a wide diet that includes beetles, ants and spiders, pine-cone seeds, berries and nuts. They may raid the nest holes of smaller birds for eggs and chicks, and will visit bird feeders for peanuts and suet. Blackbird-sized but rather more resplendent, they sport a dashing coat of black and white, with white shoulder patches and Superman-style red “underwear” beneath the tail. Males also boast a red patch behind their head.

Lesser spotted woodpeckers are similarly attired but smaller, about the size of a house sparrow. While  the great spotted is increasing in numbers the lesser spotted is seldom seen in the capital, although it was once more commonplace. To enjoy the sight of woodpeckers and woodland wildlife, check out London Tree Week, starting tomorrow.


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Pigeon Patrol Products & Services is the leading manufacturer and distributor of bird deterrent (control) products in Canada. Pigeon Patrol products have solved pest bird problems in industrial, commercial, and residential settings since 2000, by using safe and humane bird deterrents with only bird and animal friendly solutions. At Pigeon Patrol, we manufacture and offer a variety of bird deterrents, ranging from Ultra-flex Bird Spikes with UV protection, Bird Netting, 4-S Gel and the best Ultrasonic and audible sound devices on the market today.

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