The Woodpecker Network


Bars and Spots- varying fortunes of our British woodpeckers

Ken Smith, the UK's leading woodpecker expert, considers the decrease in Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers compared with the rise of Great Spotted Woodpeckers in an on-line talk for British Ornithologists Club (BOC) now available on YouTube – ,    

About the talk:

Compared with the rest of northwest Europe, Britain has a relatively impoverished woodpecker avifauna with only three widespread species – Green Woodpecker, Great Spotted and Lesser Spotted.

Green and Great Spotted woodpeckers are increasing in Britain, whereas Lesser Spotted is in serious decline and is red-listed.

Ken uses his long-term studies to explore the reasons for the contrasting trends of Great and Lesser Spotted woodpecker populations.

Watch the talk for free on Youube on the BOC website

Ken Smith Chichester 768x844Biography: Dr Ken Smith is now retired and lives in Sussex, but for almost 30 years he worked for the RSPB in what is now the Centre for Conservation Science. Over that time, he worked on a wide range of species and habitats and contributed to many conservation initiatives. In the 1980s he completed his first RSPB project on woodland birds – a national survey of woodland breeding birds which was repeated in 2003/4. That first project was enough to kindle an enduring interest in woodlands and especially woodpeckers.

In 2015, Ken with his wife Linda set up the Woodpecker Network with the express purpose of promoting the study of Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers and collecting important data on their nesting success.

When he lived in Hertfordshire, Ken was a long-standing committee member of the Herts Bird Club, was BTO Regional Rep for 10 years and organised much survey work in the county. He has the unique distinction of being an author of three successive county atlas/avifaunas – 1968/72, 1988/92 and 2007/11. He was Chair of the BTO Ringing Committee for six years and since moving to the West Sussex/Hampshire border has been a member of the scientific committees of both Sussex and Hampshire Ornithological Societies.

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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