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Bark Scaling

12-11-12  bark scaling 024There are two main ways that woodpeckers and occasionally other birds remove bark in search of insects beneath it. One is bark sloughing, where a bird pries off the entire dead layer of bark on a tree (see NC post on 12/5/14). Another method of locating insect larvae that both woodpeckers and nuthatches employ is the removal of individual scales of bark. This is referred to as bark scaling. The pictured hairy woodpecker has removed much of the bark of a dead eastern hemlock using this method.

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7 responses

  1. Marv Elliott

    Another tip to remember when we see woodpeckers in higher than normal concentrations, is to look for some exotic disease or borer. Unfortunately, many of our problems are first found when they are so bad the woodpeckers are there feasting on them.

    December 19, 2014 at 12:51 pm

  2. Jennifer Sawyer

    So sorry to read about your calendars Mary… Please don’t worry about rushing to get mine out… Whenever it arrives, I shall enjoy it… I’m certain all your fans want you to have time to relax and enjoy the season… Be well … Merry Christmas… ๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ†๐Ÿž๐ŸžJenny Sawyer

    Sent from my iPad


    December 19, 2014 at 1:57 pm

    • Thanks so much, Jennifer, for your patience and understanding! Happy Solstice!

      December 19, 2014 at 8:49 pm

  3. Myles

    I was noticing the other day that the chickadees and downys were concentrating on the butt ends of broken branches as they foraged for insects too.

    December 19, 2014 at 2:56 pm

  4. Linda Burdick

    Talk about emptying the ocean with a spoon. Hats off to this little guy!

    Sent from my iPad


    December 20, 2014 at 12:56 am

  5. Caroline K.

    Mary, I saw this for the first time recently at Mohonk and was fascinated. Voila, you have it. Your work is wonderful.

    January 17, 2015 at 11:19 am

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