Page 1 - Winter Snag 2018/19
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WINTER  2018-2019
                                                                                                                WINTER FUN AND


                                                                                                              NATURE PROGRAMS!


















         Woodpeckers


                      inter is a great time to see        Woodpeckers also use their bills for
                      woodpeckers. With few leaves on the   communication. Instead of announcing their
         W  trees they are easier to spot and they        availability as a mate with a song, male woodpeckers
         come readily to feeders, especially if nuts and suet   drum on a resonant branch, trunk – or sometimes
         are offered. Woodpeckers are most common in      house siding or metal chimney! Females join the
         wooded areas, including wooded neighborhoods.    males in drumming to proclaim a pair’s territory. A   REGISTRATION BEGINS
                                                          shock absorber system protects the woodpecker’s
         From bill to tail, woodpeckers come well-equipped   brain from all that pounding.
         for making a living in the trees. The business end of                                                November 13, 2018us
         a woodpecker is its chisel-like bill used for opening   Five species of woodpeckers inhabit Arlington all
         up insect hiding places inside wood or under bark,   year while another is a winter visitor. In addition to
         carving out nest holes in trees, and for sending   Pileated and Downy Woodpeckers, we have Hairy
         messages to other woodpeckers. Woodpecker bills   and Red-bellied Woodpeckers, both about robin-    UPCOMING EVENTS
         come in a variety of sizes, depending on the size of   sized, and the somewhat larger Northern Flicker.
         the species and the kind of work they need to do.   Flickers spend considerable time foraging on the
                                                          ground. Our winter resident woodpecker is the
         Our largest local woodpecker, the Pileated, is a   Yellow-bellied Sapsucker.
         crow-sized bird with a big bill it uses to penetrate
         into the heartwood of a tree where it finds      Sapsuckers feed heavily on sap from wells they peck
         carpenter ants. The sparrow-sized Downy          into the outer layer of a tree trunk or branch.
         Woodpecker has a bill that seems too short for    These wells usually form a characteristic row of
         pecking wood, but it’s strong, stout and works well   holes that sometimes encircle a trunk or branch.
         for extracting insects from under tree bark.     Look for streaks of sap running down a tree trunk
                                                          during a period of freeze and thaw and you might
         All that chiseling and pounding requires a firm grip.   see a sapsucker nearby.
         Most birds have feet adapted for perching, with
         three toes extending forwards and one pointing   For more information on these woodpeckers and
         backwards. Woodpeckers, however, have two toes   other birds, visit the Cornell Lab of Ornithology at
         pointing forward and two pointing backwards to   allaboutbirds.org -- and, of course, call or visit us at
         help them get a strong grip on tree bark. A      Long Branch or Gulf Branch Nature Centers.
         woodpecker’s tail is stiff and pointed at the end to
         provide a firm brace while pecking or moving up
         and down the trunk.

         A woodpecker uses its bill to reach insects in wood
         but its long, sticky, barb-ended tongue does the
         actual catching. The tongue and its supporting
         structures are so long that they wrap around the
         inside of it’s skull and can extend up to five times
         the length of its bill. This long, sticky, barbed tongue
         is perfect for grabbing insects inside the tunnels
         they drill into trees and logs.

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             GULF BRANCH NATURE CENTER                       LONG BRANCH NATURE CENTER                         FORT CF SMITH VISITOR CENTER

                  3608 N. Military Road                          625 S. Carlin Springs Road                           2411 N. 24th Street


                    Arlington, VA 22207                              Arlington, VA 22204                              Arlington, VA 22207

                        703-228-3403                                     703-228-6535                                     703-228-4775

                gulfbranch@arlingtonva.us                       longbranch@arlingtonva.us                           dfarner@arlingtonva.us


            Open 10am - 5pm Tuesday to Saturday, 1 - 5pm Sunday, Closed Mondays                             Open 10am - 2pm Saturday & Sunday
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