Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Pileated Wood Pecker and the Hydro Electric Pole

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The Pileated Wood Pecker and the Hydro Electric Pole

Here is a story of persistence!  Unbelievable PERSISTENCE!

As we drove south of Peterborough on Sunday evening, heading to Cobourg, I saw the critters for the first time. There high on the huge, new Ontario Hydro Electric Poll was a Pileated Wood Pecker in plain view. However he wasn’t moving around or even pecking his beak back and forth on the wood. He was just looking at the pole.

It was a dummy wood pecker!  Of all things… imagine a Pileated Wood Pecker dummy mounted up on the high pole not far from the wires.

I have seen many of the Nest Platforms in our area made especially for the Osprey that has that huge wing span and will often have chosen the pole top with its three line wires to situate their nests. The Nest Platform provides a safe placed for the Osprey to have a place to build their nests… and their wing span then does not touch the three wires when they take off and land. A touch of these wires is an automatic fry job for the bird and damage for the power line.

But a Pileated Wood Pecker is not as big as the Osprey.  And the Wood Pecker doesn’t nest on a Power Pole!

Why is it there?  But there wasn’t one but quite a few along the new power line and poles.

Doing a search on the Internet I found the amazing story about this silly bird.

Elizabeth LeGeyt’s web posting tells more about what is happening and what Ontario Hydro is trying to do about the problem with Pileated Wood Peckers.

Her account is showing Dave Roger’s story in the Ottawa Citizen entitled “Hydro hopes decoys will curb appetite for destruction”

In the article this photo was shown. It was taken by Colleen Todd from Cedar Cove Resort on White Lake.  What an amazing shot!

As you can easily see the Pileated Wood Pecker(on the right) is not one bit miffed by the Fake Dude on the left side of the pole.  He is steadily pecking a considerable hole in the pole.

Why does it do this?

One suggestion is that the new and solidly planted pole makes good sounds as the wood pecker raps on the pole. It is a new pole and pressure treated $3000 pole – there are no bugs in it.  BUT it sounds good so he pounds away at the pole.

Other than making the whole pole out of rubber or coating it in rubber – the sound will still be there.

One suggestion is also surmised by other bird experts. The Telephone Poles are also drilled into by wood peckers. It is suggested that the hum in the wires is translated into the pole making the wood pecker think it is a bug in the pole… so he just has to peck the pole… and make a hole.

Poles with holes are not safe – they tend to break off and the weight of the wire harness in a storm will snap off the top of the pole.  When that happens all the people down line from the wood pecker’s hole – have their lights turned off!!!

Pileated Wood Peckers and Power Poles are a problem!

What would be your solution to this dilemma?

How about somehow putting in a pole speaker that is attached to a Classical Radio station.  Classical Music doesn’t have the same beat… and the wood pecker will vamoose!  That sound coming up the pole will drive them nuts!

I have watched teenagers sitting at the next table in a fast food restaurant recently with his ear-buds in and bobbing his head to the music being pumped into his head. He was also tapping the table loudly with his hands – doing kind of a airband drummer thing.

Maybe Pileated Wood Peckers are really teenagers with the music inside.  If they are – not much will phase them… !!!

Can you imagine placing a Fake Teenager at the next booth in the fast Food restaurant to keep the drumming teens away? Too phoney and funny!

I wish the Ontario Hydro Line guys luck with this one.  And I also thank them for giving me something more to look out for on my longer drives.

~ Murray Lincoln ~


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