Preliminary Report on the Food of Woodpeckers

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U.S. Department of Agriculture, Division of Ornithology and Mammalogy, 1895 - Birds - 44 pages
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Page 22 - Besides depredations upon fruit and grain, this woodpecker has been accused of destroying the eggs of other birds and even of killing the young; and from Florida comes a report that it enters poultry houses and sucks the eggs of domestic fowls. Mr. Charles Aldrich, of Webster City, Iowa, says that a Red-headed Woodpecker was seen to kill a duckling with a single blow on the head, and then to peck out and eat the...
Page 27 - On examining the orange it was found to be decayed on one side. " In the sound portion were three holes, each nearly as large as a silver dollar, with narrow strips of peel between them. The pulp had been eaten out quite to the middle of the fruit. Small pieces of rind were thickly strewn about the spot.
Page 30 - Mr. Bolles has thus proved by experiment that concentrated sap (saturated with sugar) is not sufficient to sustain life, even with the addition of a small percentage of insects. The logical inference is that sap, while liked by the birds and consumed in large quantities, holds a subordinate place as an article of food. The Yellow-bellied Woodpecker is represented in the collection by 81 stomachs, distributed rather irregularly through the year.
Page 29 - Woodpecker is in the habit for successive years of drilling the canoe birch, red maple, red oak, white ash, and probably other trees for the purpose of taking from them the elaborated sap and in some cases parts of the cambium layer; that the birds consume the sap in large quantities for its own sake and not for insect matter which such sap may chance occasionally to contain; that the sap attracts many insects of various species, a few of which form a considerable part of the food of this bird, but...
Page 22 - Last spring, in opening a good many birds of this species with the object of ascertaining their principal food, I found in their stomachs nothing but young grasshoppers. One of them, which had its headquarters near my house, was observed making frequent visits to an old oak post, and on examining it I found a large crack where the woodpecker had inserted about 100 grasshoppers of all sizes (for future use, as later observation proved), which were put in without killing them, but they were so firmly...
Page 10 - The stomachs yielded enough corn to show that it has a taste for that grain, though not enough to indicate that any material damage is done. It eats largely of wild fruit, and also partakes rather freely of cultivated varieties, showing some preference for the larger ones, such as apples. In certain localities, particularly in winter, it feeds extensively on beechnuts. No charge can be brought against it on the score of injuring trees by pecking. The Red-bellied Woodpecker is more of a vegetarian...
Page 27 - It appeared that after having once commenced on an orange, the woodpecker returned to the same one repeatedly until he had completely consumed the pulp, and then he usually attacked another very near to it. Thus I have found certain clusters in which every orange had been bored, while all the others on the tree were untouched. An old orange grower told me that the
Page 31 - After the young have hatched, the habits of the Yellow-bellied Woodpecker change. From an humble delver after worms and larvae, it rises to the proud independence of a flycatcher, taking its prey on wing as unerringly as the best marksman of them all. From its perch on the spire of some tall stub it makes a succession of rapid sorties after its abundant victims, and then flies off to its nest with bill and mouth crammed full of insects, principally large Diptera."1 The vegetable food of the Sapsucker...
Page 9 - Its grain-eating record is trifling; 2 stomachs taken in September and October contained corn. For fruit, it seeks the forests and swamps, where it finds wild cherries, grapes, and the berries of dogwood and Virginia creeper. It eats fewer seeds of the poison ivy and poison sumac than the Downy.
Page 20 - subsists chiefly on insects. In the summer it frequents the fruit trees, ripe cherries and pears seeming to be a favorite repast. In the fall it feeds on berries and acorns, the latter at this season forming a large portion of its food.

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