The snow fell all morning, but it didn’t stop the woodpecker. I heard it drumming long before I reached the woods – that pounding, melodic tattoo produced by the great spotted woodpecker as it hammers its beak against a hollow tree. We’ve grown used to David Attenborough escorting us to the far corners of the earth to see the dramatic wonders of nature, yet is there anything on the whole planet as sensational as the drumming of a woodpecker? What can compare to that beak, a mere peg of bone and keratin, hammering a piece of wood so skilfully that the sound can be heard a kilometre away?
Glimpses of Eden
Get Instant Access
Register for free to read this article in full
Subscribe for unlimited access
From just £21.50 quarterly
Complete access to all Tablet website content including all premium content.
The full weekly edition in print and digital including our 179 years archive.
PDF version to view on iPad, iPhone or computer.
Already a subscriber? Login