Hole Drillers


Do you ever wonder what’s in the hole? Not every hole has a pretty bird and some holes are quite dangerous to go looking inside. Holes for snakes, case in point. Those for chipmunks, not so much, but I bet those tiny teeth could make me squeal.



I wonder how birds decide how big or how many holes to drill? Make a mansion or small cottage?



I learned something from my photography/nature group outings. One of our guides tapped the trunk of a tree with a large stick having holes. Another in the group watched the hole for activity. You would never think this simple gesture works, yet it does.


Out pops the inhabitant. The bird thinks a competitor has moved in picking off the juicy ants found on the dead tree. It really is amazing how competition motivates across species. Spring into action young Flicker.


Always those waiting for a choice location.  And there always is the leader of the pack to contend with.

FlickerShow off.


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14 Responses to Hole Drillers

  1. Nick Hunter says:

    Wonderful sequence of photos and entertaining text too. The first and last shots are special.

    • donna213 says:

      Thank Nick. I had to keep going back to the hole for when the sun position changed. The mid shots are when the guide tapped on the tree and the tree face was in shade at that time.

  2. silverliningsanddustbunnies says:

    Beautiful pictures! I am so glad you stopped by my blog today so I could discover you! We have flickers here, too. They are not as entertaining as yours, as they peck holes up at the highest points of our cedar siding and start ripping out insulation that gets in their way!!! But they are beautiful!

    • donna213 says:

      Huh, that must be annoying and damaging. I heard them call yesterday and was so surprised that they are so loud. That would wake me up in the morning.

      • silverliningsanddustbunnies says:

        Not so much the “call” part is annoying, but to be on the inside of the “drum” when they drill… They are beautiful, though! But I think we are going to have to put aluminum siding on our house at some point! Who knew!!!!

  3. I love that trick and will remember to use it…I hope to get out to more nature walks now…great captures of this flicker.

  4. Great photos of the flickers! I love how you captured not only the flicker, but also the beetle galleries in the wood of the dead snag. Such a lushly layered photo…..

    • donna213 says:

      I went on a tour with the DEC a few days ago to document Emerald Ash Borer damage to Ash trees. They showed us how they find the galleries. It was an interesting experience being taught by the pros. I will do a post on that on GWGT. It really makes a difference seeing it first hand, rather than reading about it.

  5. Lyle Krahn says:

    That’s a great trick.

    • donna213 says:

      I was astounded. I was with a group from the DEC. The naturalists were tree experts and some bird experts, one an ornithologist. It was great they shared knowledge. I missed the first of the series, but plan on going to the rest.

  6. Denise says:

    If I had a beautiful dress like that, I would also show it off. Your new blog is beautiful Donna.

  7. I love this sequence of pictures. I have seen the yellow-shafted flicker stop by our feeders every once in a while, and they such beautiful birds, and so big. I had no idea about tapping on the tree… good to know.

  8. Aquileana says:

    Truly marvelous captures, dear Donna… I love how the bird peeps into!!!. Nice one ❤
    Best wishes to you, Aquileana 😀

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