It’s been a tough year for Great Spotted Woodpeckers. I know this because I was lucky enough to speak recently to a former work colleague who now publishes about woodpeckers in her retirement. The problem this year has been the cold spring, which dramatically impacted the caterpillars that the woodpeckers rely on.

This is also evident in my garden. In previous years woodpeckers have been just occasional visitors to the garden feeders, and always in the coldest winter weather. But this year they have been much more regular visitors in the late spring and summer when they will have been rearing young. A couple of weeks ago this was confirmed when not only the adult, but also a juvenile woodpecker could be seen. The juvenile is the one with the completely red head in the this photo.

woodpecker photo

The good news is that this family seems to have fledged at least on chick. Across the country I suspect garden feeders have been important this year.