Saturday, March 11, 2006
Those pesky pileated wood-
peckers. See what they can do to the base of a balsam fir? And this isn't the first time; the smaller hole to the left is from a year or so ago.
This tree obviously hosts a population of carpenter ants, one of the favorite foods of pileated woodpeckers. I wonder which is more damaging to the tree: the ants, or the woodpecker's efforts to eat the ants? Of course, if the tree already hosts the ants it may be already nearing the end of its life and starting to decay. That's a shame, because it is a nice big tree close to the cabin. But we have plenty other balsams, and if it doesn't pose a danger to the cabin, we'll leave it standing to provide a home for pileated woodpeckers, chickadees, and other cavity nesters.
I noticed this excavation today as I was playing emergency midwife to one of the outside cats. But that's another post.