GS Woodpecker


I am new to this. This is my first post. I have a question. I recently watched a pair of Greater Spotted Woodpeckers digging a circular hole about 4 inched in diameter near the top of a silver birch tree in my garden. The process took them several days. Probably more than one week. I last saw one of them emerging from the hole about five days ago and have not seen them since. Is the hole a nest? Surely, it is too early for nesting. Have they decided the site is not suitable after all? Are they likely to return and use the nest in the spring? 

Can anyone help me by defining this behaviour?

Many thanks


  • Hi Arthur, welcome to the community, sorry no one has got back to you yet. I get several visits from GSW everyday and watch them drumming the trees but other than that am useless lol...just replying to say hi and bump your post up to the top so we can both learn about this behavour.

    (Pardon the Scottish Accent)

  • Hello Linda

    Thank you for taking the trouble to reply. Panic over, by the way. This morning I "spotted" a GSW emerging from the hole so they have not deserted us.

    I am still at a loss to understand whether they are using this as a nest or whether they generally hang out in such holes for protection all year. Does any one know?

    I don't mind a Scottish accent. In fact, I hardly notice it!

  • In reply to Arthur H:

    Not a problem..glad to hear they are still around.

    I got some info on google:

    As well as using holes for breeding, great spotted woodpeckers roost at night, and sometimes during the day, in old nest cavities, excavated by other woodpeckers. They will occasionally make a new roosting hole or use an artificial site such as a nest box.

    (Pardon the Scottish Accent)