Another sign of spring

It must be spring; the woodpeckers are drumming.

       Woodpeckers make two distinct types of sounds.  One is the irregular pecking, with a couple of thumps, a moment of silence, and then a few more pecks.  These are the working sounds; the woodpeckers make them when they are looking for bugs or excavating a nesting cavity.  The pauses come as they figure out the best angle to strike for cavity building or listen for the sounds of the bugs they are pursuing.  We hear them occasionally at our house.

       The other sound is drumming, the long series of evenly spaced pecks.  These are for communication.  The woodpeckers do it to claim a territory and attract a mate.

       Most species of woodpeckers don’t migrate so they are around all winter.  From what I have noticed, however, they don’t drum much in the winter, if at all.  Now that it is spring, the woods are alive with woodpeckers drumming.  It’s a sure sign of spring.

       It is possible to identify the species by the sound of its drumming.  For instructions, try   It is the Bangor Daily News and the author focuses on Maine woodpeckers but they are mostly the same species as West Virginia woodpeckers.  The tone is encouraging, making a reader believe that identifying woodpeckers by drumming sound is not some arcane science, available to only some sort of woodpecker savant, but that you, too, could learn to do it.  For another source, with more pictures and short videos try