“Tap-tap-tap-tap-tap- tap-tap”,  and I looked up from planting melons. “That was slow and loud for a woodpecker” I thought. After a minute of silence “Tap-tap-tap-tap-tap- tap-tap”,  and I thought “That’s a bloody big woodpecker. This, I have to see !” I downed trowel and ambled off in the direction of the sound. We hear the woodpeckers every day, and the last time we saw one it was on the telephone pole near our house.

Walking along our drive I saw a Portugal Telecom van, and all became clear – work on the lines. The man on the ground told me that during the night about four hundred metres of the phone cable to the next village had been cut and stolen. They were replacing the cable.  That was last May.


This morning we heard voices along the drive so I went to investigate. There was a  Portugal Telecom van in the drive and a man about to climb the pole. “Problem?” I asked. “Woodpeckers,” he replied (in Portuguese, pic-a-pau, peck the pole). I asked for details. He said a client in the next village along the line had lost his connection and the fault lay within fifty metres of this pole. He said that at this time of year woodpeckers are a big problem, just look at your telephone poles. Sure enough they had many inch-deep holes and were mottled with peck marks.

He said they also peck the wires, which is the problem here.

I was astonished as he went on to say they even peck holes in the junction boxes, rip out all the cables, and make their nests in the box !P1030091a