Who says woodpeckers are problems? As a squirrel, I like to think of myself as an opportunist, and following the birds sure makes my life easier. Look, I’m as happy as any other creature, living in the wild. I’ve got my trees, my fruits and nuts, plenty of twigs and nesting materials. I’ve got it good, right? But, when I follow the birds, life gets even better!
Human nests are the absolute best. They put out food for the birds and I get to feast to my heart’s content, after figuring out how to get at it, of course. Oh, and the eggs! Humans are so funny, cooing over any bird nest they find, feeding the mommy bird with seed and hoping to catch a glimpse of a baby bird hatching. I just don’t understand the fascination with watching baby birds at the edge of the nest, mouths gaping open begging for mommy’s attention. Eggs are for eating, not watching.
Every now and then, though, I get to follow a woodpecker. Those birds will sometimes find a human nest that makes the most wonderful sounds when it pounds on the side. With its beak, it will chip and tap away until it makes these holes everywhere. Often it’s just looking for food or a mate, so the holes aren’t that big. Well, they’re big enough for the humans to get mad. I suspect the humans get mad at other things the woodpeckers do. They stain the human nest with their droppings and I don’t think humans like the tapping sound. So, the humans grumpily walk around the outside of their nest, yelling and upset at the woodpeckers, but the woodpecker usually comes back unless the humans do something drastic. They think they have a woodpecker problem, but I think the woodpecker is doing me a favor.
Every now and then the woodpecker will make a hole just large enough for me to get inside. If it’s not large enough to begin with, sometimes I’ll just rip and tear at it to make it slightly larger. And then, oh, paradise awaits me3! Those woodpecker holes let me gain access to a huge, warm den filled with nesting materials. There is plenty of wood and plastic for me to gnaw on to keep my teeth down, sometimes there are boxes with human things inside and I like to explore. And, it is a safe place to have my babies. They just curl up in the warmth and quiet. I can run in and out of the woodpecker holes to forage for food and come back and take care of them. When they grow up, they’ll possibly end up using the same space for their own nests.
So, no, I don’t think woodpeckers are a problem. I think they provide all kinds of wonderful opportunities for me!