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Quiz #53 - Answer

by Brian Booth

  1. A WOODPECKER
  2. The mystery animal is PILEATED WOODPECKER (see Photo 53G). Only a woodpecker would hack away at a tree so intensively, and only a pileated woodpecker has the power to create such massive chips.
  3. Woodpeckers thrive on drilling apart wood to eat insects that live inside.
  4. This activity appears to have occurred in late autumn. The drill holes are ragged and show signs of age. The wood chips are on top of the previous autumn leaf litter, and are saturated from lying below the winter snowpack.
  5. You could have identified this tree as a candidate to get drilled by a woodpecker by the growth of fungi on the trunk, indicating the tree died some time ago.

Woodpeckers are amazing creatures. They have an extraordinary sense of smell and ability to tell whether a tree has insects boring below the surface of the bark Ė they donít just randomly drill trees until they find one with bugs. A pileated woodpecker dismantling a tree like this is a sight to behold. They can chop with astounding force, creating wood chips larger than a human would be capable of with a hatchet.

Photo 53G
 
Photo 53H, from Washington state, shows what pileated woodpecker drill holes and wood chips look like when fresh. Pileated woodpeckers are particularly known for making large, rectangular, vertically-oriented drill holes like this. This discovery was the highlight of this trackerís day.
 

Quiz #53 - Question      ...on to Quiz #54

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