Okefenokee Woodpecker Excavations

Dead cypress tree snag with large woodpecker holes; Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, Georgia. May 2, 2020. ©www.williamwisephoto.com. Please don’t steal my images. Download and use legally from Dreamstime.com.

The flooded prairies and hammocks of the Okefenokee Swamp hold acre after acre of standing, dead wood. An abundance of snags (dead trees) means abundant woodpeckers. There are eight species of woodpecker found in the Okefenokee, and one formerly occurring species – the Ivory Billed Woodpecker – that is now extinct.

The excavations of the Okefenokee woodpeckers creates suitable habitat and nest cavities for other birds and wildlife as well. Taylor Schoettle writes, “Without the Pileated’s carpentry, there would be few natural cavities large enough for wood ducks to rear their young. There is hardly a time when visiting the Okefenokee that this grand woodpecker is not encountered.” (A Naturalist’s Guide to the Okefenokee Swamp; Sea to Sea Printing and Publishing, 2002).

Pileated Woodpecker; Okefenokee Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, Georgia. May 4, 2019. ©www.williamwisephoto.com.

iNaturalist observation: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/52056656

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