Caught by the River

Matt’s Bird of the Week – Green Woodpecker

Matt Sewell | 21st July 2011

Green Woodpecker. Words & picture by Matt Sewell.

Of the three woodpeckers on the British Isles the green is the most instantly recognisable. His plumage cleverly makes him hard to detect whilst up a tree, but once this guy leaves the camouflage of leaves he’s like a neon powerball bouncing through the thicket. So really there is nothing surreptitious about the Green Woodpecker. He flies like a madman up and down, up and down and when he’s not banging that beak away at a tree, he’s calling loud with his piercing ‘yaffle’ laugh. This is an olde name for the bird, as in Professor Yaffle, Bagpuss’ friend. So what makes him such an extrovert? Maybe it’s the extra long tongue he hides in his beak? Apparently it can stretch the length of his body to reach bores, beetles and weevils. Personally I think he’d be more at home with a can of lager and a kebab!

Matt Sewell bird badges are now on sale in the Caught by the River shop.

Click here to see previous birds of the week.