The Woodpecker Network


We are excited to let you know of this new job at RSPB

Lesser Spotted Woodpecker research assistant.

Woodpecker Network is supporting a new research project at RSPB aimed at identifying whether breeding success of Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers is limited by food supply, by providing supplementary food and monitoring nest outcomes. The RSPB is looking for someone with good organisational, communications and practical fieldwork skills to support the project.

Lesser Spots are a rare woodland bird which is declining due to low breeding success and Woodpecker Network, RSPB and Natural England are working together to identify ways of recovering their populations.

Research by Ken and Linda Smith **(2013) has shown that Great Spotted Woodpeckers benefit from access to supplementary food. In a wood where extra food was provided Great Spots nested five days earlier and fledged more young than in the control wood with no additional food.

Previous work by RSPB and Ken and Linda Smith at Woodpecker Network** has also identified that Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers fledge very few chicks in the UK and this is thought to be due to an inability to find enough food during the breeding season.

The RSPB project is to trial methods to test whether increasing food supply by supplimentary feeding can improve breeding success of Lesser Spots.

Full details of the job and and how to apply see


Ken W. Smith & Linda Smith (2020): Long-term trends in the nest survival and productivity of the Lesser Spotted Woodpecker Dryobates minor in Britain, published in Bird Study, volume 67: 109-118.

Smith, K.W. & Smith, L. (2013). The effect of supplementary feeding in early spring on the breeding performance of the Great Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopos major. published in Bird Study volume 60: 169–175.

LSW RichardJacobs leftcolLesser Spotted Woodpecker by Richard Jacobs 2019 LSW TimPreston 256Lesser Spotted Woodpecker © Tim Preston

Don't confuse juvenile Great Spotted Woodpeckers with male Lesser Spots - they both have red caps!

Dont confuse your woodpeckers

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