Nature—Woodpeckers: The Hole Story

Air date: 11/02/2022

Premieres Wednesday, November 2 at 8 p.m. ET on PBS (check local listings), pbs.org/nature, YouTube and the PBS Video app  

 

Synopsis:  

Go deep into the woods to explore the lives of a unique avian family. Woodpeckers come in 239 species and live on every continent except Antarctica and Australia, playing a powerful role in every ecosystem they inhabit. They come in all shapes and sizes, each uniquely engineered for their particular lifestyles. Filmmaker Ann Johnson Prum (Nature: Super Hummingbirds) pecks away at what makes these birds so special through the intimate stories of woodpecker families across the world. Narrated by Paul Giamatti. 

Featured Woodpeckers: 

  • Pileated woodpecker 
  • Black woodpecker 
  • Downy woodpecker 
  • Yellow-bellied sapsucker 
  • Hairy woodpecker 
  • Acorn woodpecker 
  • Lewis’s woodpecker 
  • Gila woodpecker 
  • Andean flicker

Short TV Listing: Get an intimate look at what makes woodpeckers so special. Narrated by Paul Giamatti. 

Long TV Listing: Get an intimate look at what makes woodpeckers so special. Explore their unique abilities and intimate stories from around the world. Narrated by Paul Giamatti.    

Buzzworthy Moments: 

  • Black woodpeckers in Poland are elusive and have rarely been filmed. A pair of these large, imposing birds make a home in a beech tree, where they feed their hungry chicks.  
  • Acorn woodpeckers love to collect acorns and “tattoo” them into the holes they create in trees. The acorns are woodpecker gold – high in vitamins, minerals, fats and protein. Placing these acorns into trees helps this food last throughout the winter. 
  • Gila woodpeckers make their homes in cacti in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona. After carving out the nest cavity in between the spines, the Gila must wait several months for the inner pulp to dry into a tough leathery casing before moving in.  

Noteworthy Facts: 

  • There are 239 species of woodpeckers, and they live on every continent except Antarctica and Australia. 
  • Woodpeckers talk to each other by drumming. Each species taps out its own rhythm to stake out a territory and call for a mate. 
  • Holes are the woodpeckers’ universal trademark.  No matter where they live, every woodpecker makes a hole for a home.  

Series Overview:  

Since 1982, Nature has brought the natural world to millions of viewers, pioneering a television genre that is now widely emulated in the broadcast industry. The series has won more than 700 honors from the television industry, the international wildlife film communities and environmental organizations, including 20 Emmys and three Peabodys. Consistently among the most-watched primetime series on PBS, Nature continues to innovate through original digital programming, such as the Webby Award-winning podcast Going Wild with Dr. Rae Wynn-Grant and digital series Animal IQ and Crash Course: Zoology. Nature’s award-winning website, pbs.org/nature, features full episodes, short films, digital series, behind-the-scenes content, news articles, educational resources and more.

Nature is available for streaming concurrent with broadcast on all station-branded PBS platforms, including PBS.org and the PBS Video App, available on iOS, Android, Roku streaming devices, Apple TV, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, Samsung Smart TV, Chromecast and VIZIO. PBS station members can view many series, documentaries and specials via PBS Passport. For more information about PBS Passport, visit the PBS Passport FAQ website. 

Production Credits: 

Nature – Woodpeckers: The Hole Story is a production of The WNET Group, Blue Ant Media and Coneflower Productions for Love Nature. The documentary is produced by Ann Johnson Prum. Edited by Jim Isler and written by Janet Hess. Narrated by Paul Giamatti. Nature is a production of The WNET Group. Fred Kaufman is Executive Producer. Bill Murphy is Series Producer and Janet Hess is Series Editor.  

Underwriters: 

Series funding for Nature is made possible in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, The Arnhold Family in memory of Henry and Clarisse Arnhold, The Fairweather Foundation, Kate W. Cassidy Foundation, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, Kathy Chiao and Ken Hao, Charles Rosenblum, Sarah and Sandra Lyu in memory of Seung and Dorothy Lyu, Filomen M. D’Agostino Foundation, Lillian Goldman Charitable Trust, Gregg Peters Monsees Foundation, Koo and Patricia Yuen, Arlene and Milton D. Berkman, Sandra Atlas Bass, and public television viewers. 

Websites:  
pbs.org/nature; facebook.com/PBSNature; twitter.com/PBSNature; instagram.com/pbsnature; youtube.com/naturepbs, tiktok.com/@pbsnature, #NaturePBS 

About The WNET Group
The WNET Group creates inspiring media content and meaningful experiences for diverse audiences nationwide. It is the community-supported home of New York’s THIRTEEN – America’s flagship PBS station – WLIW21, THIRTEEN PBSKids, WLIW World and Create; NJ PBS, New Jersey’s statewide public television network; Long Island’s only NPR station WLIW-FM; ALL ARTS, the arts and culture media provider; and newsroom NJ Spotlight News. Through these channels and streaming platforms, The WNET Group brings arts, culture, education, news, documentary, entertainment and DIY programming to more than five million viewers each month. The WNET Group’s award-winning productions include signature PBS series Nature, Great Performances, American Masters, PBS NewsHour Weekend and Amanpour and Company and trusted local news programs MetroFocus and NJ Spotlight News with Briana Vannozzi. Inspiring curiosity and nurturing dreams, The WNET Group’s award-winning Kids’ Media and Education team produces the PBS KIDS series Cyberchase, interactive Mission US history games, and resources for families, teachers and caregivers. A leading nonprofit public media producer for nearly 60 years, The WNET Group presents and distributes content that fosters lifelong learning, including multiplatform initiatives addressing poverty, jobs, economic opportunity, social justice, understanding and the environment. Through Passport, station members can stream new and archival programming anytime, anywhere. The WNET Group represents the best in public media. Join us. 

Photos
For editorial use in North America only in conjunction with the direct publicity or promotion of NATURE, no other rights are granted. All rights reserved. Downloading this image constitutes agreement to these terms.

Downy woodpecker on tree in winter. Brooklin, Maine. Credit: © Russell Kaye

Acorn woodpecker in tree. Carmel, CA. Credit: Russell Kaye / Courtesy of The WNET Group

Acorn woodpecker nestlings in nest. Carmel, CA. Credit: Russell Kaye / Courtesy of The WNET Group

Downy woodpecker on tree in winter. Brooklin, Maine. Credit: © Russell Kaye

Acorn woodpecker adults at nest hole. Carmel, CA. Credit: Russell Kaye / Courtesy of The WNET Group

Two adult Acorn woodpeckers meet inside the tree nesting hole. Carmel, CA. Credit: Russell Kaye / Courtesy of The WNET Group

Filmmaker Ann Johnson Prum. Carmel, CA. Credit: Russell Kaye / Courtesy of The WNET Group

Baby acorn woodpecker peering out of nest hole. Carmel, CA. Credit: Russell Kaye / Courtesy of The WNET Group