The woodpeckers killed my Lindon tree

michele13bugs(4)June 14, 2006

I have a beautifyl,( or should I said HAD) a beautiful Lindon tree in our back yard that shaded our porch wonderfully. It's dead, and woodpeckers did it. It looks like a giant pincushion. It all started about 3 or 4 years ago when we noticed woodpecker holes on the tree, we tried spraying stuff on the tree to make the woodpeckers go away, I even tied lots of pie tins to the branches to make clanking noises to scare the little tree killers away. Nothing worked and after 4 years the tree is a pathetic dead now, well except for the new tree sprouts that keep trying to live towards the bottom part of the trunk. I know the tree must have had bugs in it when the woodpeckers puch holes in it to get them, but does anyone know what causes these birds to go to the extent to literally make thousands and thousands of holes in a tree. Was the tree sick to start this? Someone told me that but the tree looked beautiful before these birds attacked it. I have another Lindon about 40 feet away from this one and am worried they will now take there little beaks to this one, anyone have a suggestion for me to prevent this. By the way the also peck on our cedar siding of the house. These are not the bigger Pilated Woodpecker, we do have some of those around here, but the ones I see doing it are the smaller ones, black and white, with red on their heards, I think they are called something like Wooly Woodpeckers?


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rubybaby43(z4 MN/n. metro)

If it was done by woodpeckers it would be a sapsucker of some sort (Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers drill on dead wood). Sapsuckers drill holes in trees to find sap either to feed on it or if they have a nest (cavity) in the tree they may drill holes and let sap run down the tree to prevent predators from getting up in the tree.

From what I have read it is not all that common to have a tree die from the holes they drill. I'm sorry your tree has become a statistic to these great birds!!

    Bookmark   June 14, 2006 at 10:32PM
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From what I can tell from my birdbook, these are either the Downy or Hairy, (I think there is just alittle difference in the two isn't there. I sort of think these are the Hairy, but wouldn't bet on it. All I know was the tree was beautiful and lush when this all started, and now it's just a big old ugly dead tree with thousands of holes in it. Does anyone know what kind of sapsucker lives around here, I live in the Prior Lake area. The many times I witnessed this it sure just looked like a small black and white with red on it's head woodpecker. I have shown many people this tree and they stand there with their mouths open and can't quite believe it.


    Bookmark   June 14, 2006 at 10:54PM
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rubybaby43(z4 MN/n. metro)

Donwies are smaller than Hairies and the Hairies have a considerably longer bill. Other than that you can tell the difference by getting a good look at their tail feathers.

I'd have to guess that if it was one of these two woodpeckers then your tree was already having problems. I found a little reading info about woodpeckers if you're interested. It still sounds like it's a pretty rare thing for a tree to die because of a woodpecker even if it had been a sapsucker...but much less from a Downy or Hairy. How old was your tree about? I know that a dying tree can sometimes look very healthy for a few years to those of us on the outside. I have a Linden tree and even though it's not very old I'd hate to lose it.

Does anyone know what kind of sapsucker lives around here
In MN we have Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers. I've not yet had the pleasure of seeing one myself even though I do a bit of birdwatching.

Kristy :)

Here is a link that might be useful: Woodpecker facts

    Bookmark   June 15, 2006 at 10:18AM
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Sorry about your linden. In most cases, a tree is dead or dying before the woodpeckers go to work on it. Here is a FAQ sheet by the University of Minnesota's Extension Service with additional information, including prevention techniques for the other tree you are concerned about. Also note that woodpeckers are protected by state and federal laws, so trapping or shooting them is not legal.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2006 at 9:01AM
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THanks Rubybaby43 and Leaveswave for the good websites. I guess I will never know, maybe my tree was sick when the birds started on it, it sure didn't look sick, but I guess it takes a long time for trees to die. I do remember and can still see some of the early holes that were done about 4 years ago and they were nice little holes it a strait little line, which makes me think sapsucker. Then as time went on the holes got totally haphazard, no more neat little rows of holes. Maybe sapsuckers started it, then the hairys came to finish the job. The birds first started pecking on the large limbs, one at a time, and then would move on to another large limb,til all the limbs died one by one, then they attacked the trunk last. This has been a long process. I will keep watching my other Lindon for holes, and do everything I can to prevent loosing another one. I would never harm a bird, no need to worry.I am the type who takes a spider I find in the house outside to let it go.

Michele >^,,^

    Bookmark   June 16, 2006 at 9:51AM
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