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Green woodpeckers

August 2016

And to begin with, meet Woody, our Green Woodpecker.

Maybe it's because we mellow with age, or maybe because we might have a little more time to watch and observe, but whatever the cause once people reach a certain age they do seem to take an increased interest in plants, animals and wildlife in general.

So here at Laterlife we will include when we can personal stories from you and friends about your involvement in wildlife...whether a visit to an animal sanctuary, an experience you have had with a pet, something you spotted on a holiday or in your everyday life...just let us know so we can share your story and share the wonder of the world around us. Email

And it is wonderful isn’t it? For instance, this morning we spotted movement at the far end of our barn and there, sitting on the ground, was a half stunned green woodpecker. It had clearly flown into the barn, become frightened and then possibly stunned itself on one of the windows trying to get out.

It was very docile so we picked it up...and wow, close up the colouring was unbelievable. Green on the top fading to a warm yellow underneath, a lovely deep red head and lots of other wonderful mottled markings and colourings.

I wanted to get it some bread but checking, that wasn’t a good idea...woodpeckers mainly live on ants on the ground. Evidently they don’t “drum” on tree trunks as other woodpeckers do, although they do nest in holes in a tree. They usually lay four to six eggs which hatch after about three weeks and then the parents are busy feeding them. One research on seven chicks that were hatched in a nest showed that the woodpecker parents fed the young over 10 different species of ants. Even more amazing, the same research showed that those seven chicks consumed an estimated 1.5 million ants and pupae before finally fledging and leaving the nest.

No wonder birds are always so busy looking for food.

We may have seen our little woodpecker around before as we do spot them scavenging on the grass behind the house sometimes.

Anyway I decided not to try and catch some ants for it, with its long beak it was clearly much better equipped to do this than I was! So after a quiet spell for him to recover, we gently let him go and he flew off happily into the nearby trees.

A nice happy ending to a lovely encounter with a beautiful bird.



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