Since the species has just recently been introduced to Ireland, the operator's expenses have gone up.
In a statement, ESB Networks stated: "Earlier this year, ESB Networks completed significant network improvement work in the Wicklow regions of Aughrim and Tinahely, some of which required replacing woodpecker-damaged poles.
“This caused obvious inconvenience to customers in the area with scheduled maintenance outages, and we thank them for their understanding during the recent interruptions.”
According to Birdwatch Ireland's Head of Communications, Niall Hatch, infrastructure may need to be modified to accommodate metal poles as a result.
Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Mr. Hatch said that because the population of the great spotted woodpecker in Britain had reached such a high point, the bird, which is quite widespread throughout much of Europe, started migrating over the Irish Sea.
“Woodpeckers are often very reluctant to fly over bodies of water, but these young birds were unable to locate a place to live for themselves in Britain.
“From Wales, they could see Co Wicklow and from Scotland, they could see Co Down, and they've moved across and came into a country where there were no woodpeckers,” he stated.
“They had it all to themselves in that point of view or filling this vacant niche."
As stated by Mr. Hatch, the Irish Garden Bird Survey has been used by Birdwatch Ireland to monitor the bird's expansion during the past 20 years.
For the past ten years, more and more individuals have reported to us seeing woodpeckers in their gardens. Specifically, we are witnessing the dispersal into other regions of Ireland, away from the east coast.”
According to him, woodpeckers peck on wood, dig, and then in crevices found inside tree trunks.
Furthermore, from their perspective, a wooden electrical pole is just another dead tree stump. Additionally, they believe it to be a suitable location for them to dig and build a nest,” he remarked.
Mr. Hatch said, “a remarkably low level of tree cover” in Ireland is one of the problems.
“There are few places in Wicklow where it's excellent for woodpeckers, although very few of those trees are genuinely ideal for them. However, they prefer dead or dying trees, of which there are extremely few in Ireland. As a result, they tend to stay away from large commercial plantings.”
“They are there, but it's not the best place for them to build a nest. They want to find additional woods that is mixed. the blend of pine. They enjoy things like oak, but they really enjoy digging their nest holes. One reason this is a greater problem in Ireland right now than in other areas of Europe might be because they like soft wood, trees that are half dead or dying, and electricity pylons provide an excellent alternative for them.”
“Such problems existed in other nations a few years ago.
“In certain regions of Scotland and throughout Europe where woodpeckers are prevalent, various kinds of electricity poles are utilised.” For instance, in certain locations with an exceptionally high density of woodpeckers, you'll see metal pylons.”
He indicated that Ireland could need to take similar adjustments into account.
“Having it here is excellent. It is incredibly beneficial to biodiversity. It makes roosting spots for bathing birds and nest holes for other species. It's also a fantastic bird. However, to accommodate this new arrival, we might need to modify how we roll out our infrastructure.”