Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
STATUS: Locally common but has become less common in areas where extensive agricultural or logging practices have eliminated large tracts of old-growth forests.
HABITAT: Generally limited to mature coniferous, deciduous, and mixed forests with large, dead trees. Prefers woodlands near water.
SPECIAL HABITAT REQUIREMENTS: Large dead trees for nesting and feeding.
NEST: Usually excavates nest holes in dead tree trunks or dead limbs of living trees. Generally requires trees greater than 15 inches dbh for nest and roost cavities and generally uses ponderosa pine snags greater than 20 inches dbh. Nests in a variety of tree species, including beech, cottonwood, yellow-poplar, birch, oak, hickory, maple, hemlock, pine, ash, elm, basswood, and aspen.
FOOD: Consumes a diet that is about 70 percent insects, with ants, especially carpenter ants and wood-boring beetles, predominating. Also consumes other insects, some wild fruits, mast, and seeds of sumac.
REFERENCES: Beal 1911, Bull and Meslow 1977, Conner et al. 1975, DeGraff et al. 1980, Forbush and May 1955, Hoyt 1957, Johnsgard 1979.