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Archive for November 4, 2010

Winter Shelters – Welcome to a photographic journey through the woods, fields and marshes of New England

Find more of my photographs and information similar to that which I post in this blog in my book Naturally Curious, which is now available from or your local bookseller.


In trying to reach their preferred diet of carpenter ants, pileated woodpeckers contribute to the welfare of mice without any intention of doing so. The excavated pileated holes can be several inches deep (carpenter ant galleries tend to be in the center of the tree, where dead heartwood is located). Once the carpenter ant population has been consumed, the woodpecker departs, leaving one or more holes. Deermice, upon discovering these sheltered nooks, often set up housekeeping in them, frequently plugging them with wood chips, forest floor duff and other material to make themselves more comfortable and protected from the elements. In the pictured pileated hole,mouse scat and the start of a pile of chips confirmed that at least once mouse had sought shelter in this cavity. (Yes, mice can climb trees!)