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Cousins working together on our family owned farm with the aim of running a commercial modern farm producing high yielding, high standard crops while maximising wildlife diversity. Brian is said to be the farmer and conservationist, whereas Patrick is a conservationist and farmer. This mix has given a new direction for the farm, building upon the work that our fathers and grandfather has done to improve the overall success of the farm business. The farm has gone from strength to strength with the farm being recognised at a national level winning the coveted National FWAG’s Silver Lapwing Award for farming and conservation in 2009 and then Patrick and Brian were named Countryside Farmer of the Year by the Farmers Weekly in 2010.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

The Great Spotted Woodpecker

Dendrocopus major
There are only two black and white woodpeckers in the UK, the Great and the Lesser Spotted.
The Great Spotted is the size of a blacksbird and the Lesser Spotted is the size of a Robin.
The male Great Spotted Woodpecker has a red patch on the back of his head and both the male and females have red 'underpants'.
Size
22 - 24cm
Weight
70 - 100gms
Habitat
Wooded areas and on open ground with scattered mature trees. Resident in UK and present throughout the year.
Nest
April to July. They dig out tree chambers at about 3m above the ground or will use specialist nest boxes.
Eggs
1 brood of 4-7 eggs. Incubation period is 10-13 days.
Food
Insects, fat bars, seeds and peanuts.
Voice
Call is a loud 'tchick' with song replaced by rapid drumming for attracting a mate or to mark a territory.
Characteristics

Although spectacular garden visitors, Great Spotted Woodpeckers can be an aggressive nuisance to other, smaller species. They often dominate other birds at feeders and will raid nest boxes and eat nestlings.
As an opposite side to this is the fact that they are endearing parents, frequently seen teaching their young how to use feeders.
BTO Statistics
The population of Great Spotted Woodpeckers increased substantially during the 70's partly due to Dutch elm disease. Nesting success seems very high but natural sites are hard to monitor and with the constant clearing of dead wood, new nest sites may become rare.

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