Great Spotted Woodpecker display

Hi everyone, I'm new here.

Yesterday was quite an exciting day, lots of species active in the back green brought into town by the recent snow and freezing weather, including redwing and starlings. I got a few photos. But what puzzled me a bit was the behaviour of our pair of great spotted woodpeckers - the female anyway has been around for quite a few months now.

In the afternoon, the starlings came back, this time without the redwings, and began feeding on the ground, and trying to steal food from the blackbirds. Then I noticed the male woodpecker coming down from the tall trees on several occasions, on the ground, and on the low bark of the trees, and taking quite an interest in the starlings. At this point, I thought he might just be looking for bugs. But then first the female, then the male started dancing round a cast-iron clothes-line pole, where no food would be lurking.

I believe starlings can try to take over woodpecker's nesting holes, so I can understand why our woodpeckers might be getting agitated. I managed to capture the display (sorry the quality isn't great). Is it possible the woodpeckers were trying to chase the starlings off with this display? (If so it didn't work.) Or there another explanation? They were mostly showing their plumage on the side of the pole closest to the starlings, i.e. away from the camera.

With the weather improved, the starlings (and redwings) weren't to be seen today.

Thank you.

  • Hi Ian ...nothing like a GSW doing a bit of pole dancing lol...Mines usually are a bit footery when they 1st land on the feeding pole and constanly move to lower themselves onto the feeder of choice and constantly watching for magpies but never seen them do it at the bottom of the pole.
    I have seen them attack starlings in my garden as you can see here.
    community.rspb.org.uk/.../1328766

    Oh and welcome to the forum from about 60 mins doon the motorway from you

    (Pardon the Scottish Accent)

  • Hi Linda,

    Thanks for the welcome and the reply. I'm beginning to feel at home already!

    My photos of the other birds wouldn't fit on the original post, so here they are...

  • In reply to Ian fae Edinburgh:

    Good stuff.Ian....we are all a friendly bunch and sometimes a bit mad lol
    Yeah its all to do with the size of pics as dont think you can upload anything over 5.2GB...someone shall correct me soon if am wrong...it happens...often lol...Nice pics to kick off the start of your journey on here.

    (Pardon the Scottish Accent)

  • Thanks, You're not wrong - I got the message that said 5.2 GB was the maximum when I tried to post everything at once with the original video.

    I'm new to video editing (as in this is the 2nd time I've done it), and in fact to taking videos on my camera in general. It was a struggle to get the video down to 5 GB. (I'm using the free version of Lightworks.) But it's all good learning experience for later!
  • In reply to Ian fae Edinburgh:

    well your doing better than me cos av never been able to post a vid lol....most post it on youtube then just attach a link...a will stick with pics and words....there are good tech people on here that will help ...you just gotta ask!

    (Pardon the Scottish Accent)

  • Sounds good Linda! I haven't tried the youtube route, though I'm sure it's not too difficult. I just quite like to experiment... I guess there is a forum somewhere on here to ask these questions?

    Video can bring things to life in a way that photos sometimes can't, although it presents its own challenges - not least the learning curve. I got some footage a couple of months ago of our amazing Edinburgh otter in Holyrood Park, interacting with the local swans. So far I've not managed to post-process that, but I live in hope!
  • In reply to Ian fae Edinburgh:

    Am not sure if there is a specific place tonask but questions usually get picked up and answered wherever you post them. there is already a thread for videos here that you can add yours to
    community.rspb.org.uk/.../1327967
    Or you can just create a new post of your own like you have done here.

    Some like a challenge ...me I like easy idiots guide to things...lol

    Sounds like a good vid you have....look forward to seeing it

    (Pardon the Scottish Accent)

  • Hello Ian, welcome from up the motorway and A9 from you and Linda from Caithness, up at the very top! Well done on getting the little video and then your pictures posted, we had updates on here over the last few years and it has made the site not the easiest to navigate. Look forward to reading more posts from you. As has been said we are a good lot although crazy at times, but a great community to be on. You will hopefully always get help from someone eventually, so get setled in and enjoy.

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

  • Thank you Catlady!

    I have much affection for your part of our land, especially after the Caithness Mòd a few years ago when my boys were competing. We were given a warm welcome by our hosts who showed us round the county, coastline and heritage! Seabirds a-plenty. (I envy your dark skies too!)

    Right now, with lockdown and all that, it's liberating to have these on-line ways of sharing experiences. But here's to times when we can actually get out and about once again, and explore the natural world around us!