Munich – Knock, knock, knock!
This is what it sounds like when great spotted woodpeckers build a sleeping cave. And they can also be observed in cities – because to the annoyance of many homeowners, the birds have discovered the thermal insulation of facades for themselves.
Now in autumn, they built more and more sleeping caves for the cold season, said Sylvia Weber from the State Association for Bird Protection (LBV) in Munich. That is why people from many cities reported to the expert who reported woodpeckers on their house wall.
Weber: “This is a nationwide phenomenon that has spread with the increased building of thermally insulated facades.” Because: These facades offer birds the same opportunities as a rotten tree. The rough structure resembles the bark of a tree, the drumming of the woodpeckers sounds similar on styrofoam as on dead wood. If there are still insects on the plaster, the woodpecker feels at home. ▶ With its chisel-shaped beak, it hacks open the thin, hard shell and can then quickly hollow out the soft insulation material.
The great spotted woodpeckers are actually dependent on old trees with a lot of dead wood in which insects and their larvae live. Many German forests, however, are purely commercial forests, where no wood is allowed to rot, said Weber. This is why the woodpecker sometimes finds more food in cities – thanks in part to tit balls and bird feeders. “In the city, the problem is that the trees are all well cared for, nothing should rot.”
So the birds move to the house walls and sometimes cause great damage. Weber: “Woodpeckers plan ahead.” That is why they hacked not just one, but several sleeping caves so that they could move if they felt disturbed in one of the quarters. It is similar in spring. The male woodpeckers built several caves as a courtship ritual so that the female could choose a nesting place.
If you want to do something about a woodpecker hole, it has to be approved by a nature conservation authority.