[CT Birds] Amazing Woodpecker Acivity (?)

Steve Mayo and Rebecca Horowitz rsdmayo at sbcglobal.net
Fri Mar 27 21:44:17 EDT 2015

I took a hike behind the Old Bethany Airport (on Rte 63) and noticed one tree with the fresh, deep oval holes made by a Pileated Woodpecker.  But then I noticed many trees, more than a dozen within eyesight, showing a bright tawny, ochre color.  These formerly had deeply furrowed dark gray, lichen covered bark (a hardwood, perhaps a Black Oak?).  The outer layer of bark now lay in 3-4 inch, 1/2 inch wide shards, in a circular pile around each tree.  Many of the tree trunks were completely naked, from 1 foot above ground to upwards of 40 feet.  [Ok, so that rules out browsing White-tailed Deer.]  Trunk surfaces were severely frayed, exposing the cambium.  I can't imagine the amount of time and mechanical energy needed, to remove hundreds upon hundreds of square feet of bark, like that.   
What kind of creature in New England deciduous woods, does this?  Is it a battalion of the Army Corps of Woodpecker Engineers?   Perhaps this is a common occurrence, but I don't recall ever seeing this incredible effort.

Steve MayoBethany

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