The other day I could hear this 'tap tap' from the top of the garden. Then there'd be a pause, and a couple of minutes later 'tap tap tap'.

On investigating, I found this young Great Spotted Woodpecker, banging away at a bare, vertical branch on a dead apple tree I've left standing. You can tell it is this year's bird because it has red on its crown, which the adults don't have.

My first thought was that it was getting at beetle grubs in the wood.

But as I got closer, I realised it had wedged a line of green hazelnuts into a deep fissure in the branch.

It would hammer to get at the nutty contents, before flying off to my Hazel tree nearby, and bring back another to squeeze into its vice.

Nature never ceases to amaze me. This bird is probably less than 12 weeks old, but either instinct or trial and error have allowed it to already master this trick, using its environment as a tool. In the survival of the fittest, this one feels a winner to me!

Anonymous