Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
HABITAT: Inhabits dense coniferous forests, especially in burned, swampy, cutover, or beetle-killed forests where dead trees are numerous.
SPECIAL HABITAT REQUIREMENTS: Dead or live trees with dead heartwood for nesting and feeding sites.
NEST: Usually excavates its cavities in snags or live trees with dead heartwood, especially in areas that have been burned or logged. Mostly nests in spruce, balsam fir, pines, or Douglas-fir, but also in maple, birch, cedar, and utility poles. Locates nest cavity usually less than 15 feet above the ground.
FOOD: Flakes off bark of dead conifers to get at larvae of destructive wood-boring beetles, which make up about 75 percent of its food. Also eats weevils and other beetles, spiders, and ants, along with some wild fruit, mast, and cambium.
REFERENCES: Beal and McAtee 1912, DeGraff et al. 1980, Forbush and May 1955, Johnsgard 1979, Thomas et al. 1979.