|Dick Coombes Birdwatch Ireland|
A presentation by Dick Coombes took place in the Riverfront Hotel, Virginia on Tuesday 9th April at 8pm after the AGM. Dick is the Countryside Bird Survey co-ordinator with Birdwatch Ireland and has studied great-spotted woodpeckers closely since they were first recorded breeding in Ireland back in 2009. A few years prior to this they had been recorded breeding in Northern Ireland and in 2008 a juvenile bird was sighted at a bird feeder in Co. Wicklow! It was confirmed that great-spotted woodpeckers were breeding in the woodlands of Wicklow in 2009 and since then the birds have been gradually spreading along the eastern side of the country.
Are they breeding here in Cavan? To date there have been a few reported sightings of woodpeckers in the county but breeding has not yet been confirmed. We have lots of suitable habitat here. Their favourite nesting habitat is mature woodland where they can find trees with some element of rot, preferably an oak. Dick described what signs we should be looking out for:
Between March and April we should listen out for the sound of woodpeckers drumming- a very distinctive sound that indicates a woodpecker is holding a territory. To hear an example of what a woodpecker drumming sounds like, follow this link:
Also keep an eye out for the presence of feeding holes or evidence of nest hole excavation in mature trees. The nest holes can be difficult to spot as they are generally located quite high-up on trees but if you keep looking up and listening who knows what you might discover! Please pass on any records of sightings to Dick Coombes at firstname.lastname@example.org
A special word of thanks to Dick for a most enjoyable and informative presentation. It was evident that Dick has put in a lot of work over the last few years studying these birds and that although it has been demanding he has enjoyed it all very much and has a great affection for these very special birds!