The Florida pine forests are the typical habitat for woodpeckers. The architecture of many homes within the Greater Tampa Bay utilizes Styrofoam providing woodpeckers with an easy material to peck at. There are eight species of woodpeckers in Florida. The Red-Bellied Woodpecker is the most common woodpecker seen in Tampa.
Why do woodpeckers drum?
A woodpecker’s rhythmic pecking is called drumming. Most people correctly assume drumming is to help find food.
Woodpeckers drill holes with their beaks in wooden structures for several reasons.
A woodpecker taps on a tree, listens for movement of insects under the bark, and drills only when it hears sound inside. This behavior saves the bird the effort of drilling into numerous trees only to find them empty.
If the woodpeckers are drilling many small holes, the siding is probably infested with insects that appeal to woodpecker appetites. Similarly, a woodpecker taps on trees to find one suitable for nesting.
Woodpeckers also drill large holes in siding for nests. Woodpeckers use their bills to chisel through or under bark to chisel out nesting and night-roosting cavities.
Drumming also makes their presence known. They instinctively make their noise on trees, branches, drain spouts, utility poles, streetlights, TV antennas, silos, and other structures that resonate loudly. This drumming establishes their territory, similar to most other birds’ singing, and may also attract a mate, which is why drumming activity is at its highest in spring.