Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Damage by Woodpeckers Driving Up Utility Costs

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Damage by Woodpeckers Driving Up Utility Costs

Article excerpt

That drumming in the woods along the Salmon River is the pileated woodpecker drilling holes in wooden power poles.

It could also be the sound of ratepayers' coins rattling down to pay for the damage.

The 18-inch-tall woodpecker knocks huge holes in the poles for its nests, undermining the supports for power lines that serve central Idaho mountain towns, including Sunbeam and Stanley.

"We've had woodpecker problems in the past, but nothing of this magnitude," said Frank Corrales, Jr., finance and administration director for the Salmon River Electric Co-Op. "It definitely has an effect on our cash flows."

The problem also could cause havoc if the weakened poles fall.

The pileated woodpecker is black and white with a red crest. When it gets busy pecking logs for insects or making a nest, it knocks out chips the width of a pinkie, Corrales said.

It may peck out a nest five feet down from the hole's entrance. That leaves a wooden shell standing up against a wind, ice and snow on cables. …

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