For many of our resident birds Spring has already begun or at least thoughts of the breeding season have kicked in, changes in behaviour, plumage and often feeding areas can start as early as February. We all think of male birds ‘singing’ to attract a mate or let rivals know that this territory is occupied but one of my favourite garden birds the Great Spotted Woodpecker does something a little different, it drums!
‘Drumming’ is the sound that Great Spotted Woodpeckers make by hammering their bills against dead wood 10-20 times over 2-3 seconds. The sound resonates in the dead wood and can be heard over large distances. This drumming acts as an advert and is used by Great spotted Woodpeckers and other woodpecker species instead of a song. Perhaps surprisingly it isn’t just male Great Spotted Woodpeckers that drum, in the woodpecker world equality rules and females drum to advertise their presence too! Have a look at Peter Alfrey’s super short video of a drumming Great Spotted Woodpecker to get familiar with the sound and listen out for it when you’re out and about.
Watch Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QN7sqpm18WA