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serious weirdness in "bird peck" black walnut from rob3232

Discussion in 'Wood Identification & Characteristics of Wood' started by phinds, Feb 25, 2014.

  1. phinds

    phinds Moderator Global Moderator Founding Member Full Member Forum Moderator Thread Starter

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    There is this thing that rob3232 introduced me to called "bird peck" in black walnut.

    According to the Purdue wood site:

    https://www.extension.purdue.edu/extmedia/FNR/FNR-278-W.pdf (see page 4)

    Bird peck exists, is fairly common in black walnut, and really is caused by birds pecking on the tree. It is called "worm" in the veneer business because it looks like a worm hole.

    Below are a couple of sections of the a plank that Rob sent me and some closeups of the bird peck areas. The streaking looks very much like ambrosia streaking but I'm willing to believe that it is actually caused by birds, as both Rob and Purdue say it is.

    UPDATE: see post #35. I have more evidence and now believe
    that all the stuff shown in this thread is ambrosia walnut

    "bird peck" walnut DOES exist but we're not seeing it here
    Rob's maple in post #13 doesn't count (not walnut)

    BUT ... here's the problem that I'd like to get comments on: the hole only goes into the plank just a little way (which is very consistent with a bird pecking the tree) but it is on the inside. That is, this particular plank was cut close to the sapwood and on one side they have sapwood edges. Both this and the growth ring curvature make it unquestionably clear that the hole is on the INSIDE of the plank. That is, the only way it could have been made by a bird is if the bird was inside the tree. Looked at another way, you could say that what it really looks like is that a worm tunneled into the tree somewhere else, made his way over to this area, started heading from the inside of the tree towards the bark and then stopped about 2" inside the bark so that when this plank was cut there is a shallow hole in the surface of the plank. And not just one ... there are 4 of them in just this 2 foot by 6 inch section of plank.

    So ... I just don't get how Purdue and Rob can be right about it being caused by a bird BUT I also don't get how it was that these 4 worms just happened to stop right inside the line where the plank was going to be cut. This strikes me as impossible.

    I'm thinking there must be some other explanation, but I have no idea what it might be.

    Rob, please jump in with any comments you have. I didn't write down much when we spoke on the phone the other day and I may have overlooked something you told me.

    walnut 1.jpg

    walnut 2.jpg

    walnut 1 closeup 2.jpg

    walnut 2 closeup.jpg

    walnut 1 closeup 1.jpg
     
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    Last edited: Feb 3, 2020
  2. rob3232

    rob3232 Member Full Member

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    Hmmm a mystery?? Hope some other members chime in:ponder:
     
  3. barry richardson

    barry richardson Moderator Staff Member Global Moderator Full Member

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    Maybe the pecking was done a while ago and new wood grew over it, giving it the appearance that it was pecked from the inside...
     
  4. Kevin

    Kevin Wood is good. Staff Member Administrator Global Moderator Founding Member Full Member

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    I think it could very well be borers. I see similar holes in my wood all the time, many of which seem to all happen to 'stop simultaneously' on the same 'strata' if you will. Lots of werid things happen with, and in, wood. It's a good mystery though and I would like to hear a definitive answer to it if one could be found.
     
  5. phinds

    phinds Moderator Global Moderator Founding Member Full Member Forum Moderator Thread Starter

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    Barry, I thought of that too but the problem I have with it is that I can't see the wood keeping the nice clean hole shape as it grows another 2" of wood over it. [NOTE: see "another thought" below --- this is essentially what you are suggesting]

    Kevin, I agree that it damned near HAS to be borers despite what Purdue and Rob have to say about it. Probably there is a form of "bird peck" black walnut that IS caused by birds but this isn't it. That would solve everything.

    That's a bit like solving the argument as to where or not Shakespeare was really the guy who wrote all those plays by saying, no he didn't ... they were all written by a different guy, who was also named Shakespeare. :smile:


    ANOTHER THOUGHT ... I just realized ... maybe what happens is that there IS a bird peck on the surface and then it's overgrown by new sapwood but only right at the outside and a little hollow tube, not very deep at all, effectively moves into the tree as the new sapwood expands the tree outward. Then the tube becomes part of the area that turns into heartwood and when the wood is milled, the hole shows up just like what I have. Hm ... could be. Any thoughts? This is just what Barry suggested.
     
  6. Kevin

    Kevin Wood is good. Staff Member Administrator Global Moderator Founding Member Full Member

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    I have pondered that before - years ago - I think it's unlikely. When one truly understands the way wood cells form, and how they create wood fibers, and what wood fibers do as they strecth out and bind with one another and all things they touch, it is unlikely to happen very frequently. I'm sure it can, but wood wants to trap everything it comes into contact with - like the Borg, wood assimilates things tightly and isn't prone to "avoiding" things by giving them their own space. Just my theory though based on my laymen's understanding of how wood grows.
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2014
  7. phinds

    phinds Moderator Global Moderator Founding Member Full Member Forum Moderator Thread Starter

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    Yeah, I agree. I'm just floundering around trying to figure out how this stuff happened. I think this is worm but I'm trying to keep an open mind since Purdue says actual bird peck does happen. Maybe THEY'RE wrong :smile:
     
  8. Kevin

    Kevin Wood is good. Staff Member Administrator Global Moderator Founding Member Full Member

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    Bird peck does happen to walnut I've seen it from logs I've harvested, but from the outside. I also had trouble getting a veneer buyer to come look at a stand of walnut logs about 7 years ago because he said to me on the phone "All the walnut in you area has bird peck I'd be wasting my time".

    Does the Purdue info have a traceable trail e.g. white paper with bibliography and field research etc.?
     
  9. Kevin

    Kevin Wood is good. Staff Member Administrator Global Moderator Founding Member Full Member

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    Another thing, I'm sure you looked at those boards end grain to make sure those holes were not from the outside correct? If those holes are on the sap side mystery solved . . . . . .
     
  10. dycmark

    dycmark Member Full Member

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    It would seem to me that having borers all stop in the same place is not that hard to believe if they bore at similar pace and are introduced around the same time. That all makes perfect sense to me and then they die off at nearly precisely the same time likely do to something environmental. I do however think that the Bird INSIDE the tree is MUCH more fun to envision and I can almost see the project now...

    titled "Bird in Tree"
    subtitled "A bird in the tree is better than a bird in the hand"
    (or at least a lot more fun to talk about)

    Mark
     
  11. phinds

    phinds Moderator Global Moderator Founding Member Full Member Forum Moderator Thread Starter

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    I think you need to reread my original post.
     
  12. phinds

    phinds Moderator Global Moderator Founding Member Full Member Forum Moderator Thread Starter

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    Yes, if that were the situation, I'd agree that it might be possible, but I don't see that as being likely since in this case it would be bugs being introduced a exactly the right distances apart to bore into the tree, swing around and head towards the bark again, and then all stop, NOT at the same distance from the bark but at the same distance into a tangential plane (the heartwood side of the plank) that has varying distances from the bark.
     
  13. phinds

    phinds Moderator Global Moderator Founding Member Full Member Forum Moderator Thread Starter

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    Good info. Thanks

    I didn't look, but I don't think so. The comments about bird peck on page 4 of the linked paper are along with many comments about various aspects of the figure on 5 or 6 different planks.
     
  14. dycmark

    dycmark Member Full Member

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    . can you hold on a min. I need to get out my abacus and my compass and try to figure out if it is a tangentially tangible elucidation.

    For a bunch of guys who make sawdust for enjoyment (and perhaps, for the luck ones, profit) we sure do use some big words.

    Mark
     
  15. rob3232

    rob3232 Member Full Member

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    I do not know if this will help but here is a picture of the end of a hard maple log with bird peck. I think it at least shows how once the log is cut the bird peck could show on the inner side, outer side, or even be concealed within. :whatever:


    IMAG0272.jpg
     
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  16. phinds

    phinds Moderator Global Moderator Founding Member Full Member Forum Moderator Thread Starter

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    OK, so whether it is due to birds or a worms. then clearly it IS the case that the peck happens starting at the bark, the tree grows over it, and the hole remains perfectly formed as it moves into the tree and the sapwood gets stained early in the process. Kevin and I both have trouble believing that that is at all likely (the hole staying so nicely formed). Still, I'm not seeing any other explanation. Now we STILL need to figure out if it's really a bird, but this certainly makes it possible.

    Also, based on the positioning on that particular piece of maple, it looks like there was a good year for the birds or bugs or whatever, then a couple of off years, then they are back again, then a couple more off years, then back again.

    This is fascinating (see how easily entertained I am? :smile:)

    Thanks, Rob.

    Paul
     
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  17. rob3232

    rob3232 Member Full Member

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    I am easily entertained also.:drinks2: I do not have liberty but if I could cut a 1" cookie off of that maple log I think we might see something different? Maybe no peck or peck in different rings of growth?
    If you look back to the Purdue site it says that the holes(bird pecks) are filled with something(??) that easily falls out. (so they are not truly holes)

    Thanks
     
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  18. Kevin

    Kevin Wood is good. Staff Member Administrator Global Moderator Founding Member Full Member

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    I'm with you Paul. This IS fascinating. And just look at that one radioactive-looking colored ring 28 years in; clearly that was Chernobyl.

    chernobyl.jpg

    Trees talk.
     
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  19. phinds

    phinds Moderator Global Moderator Founding Member Full Member Forum Moderator Thread Starter

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    Hm ... I missed that. That to me adds to the evidence that it is not a bird, since birds typically remove stuff, not leave stuff, but bugs can do either or both.
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2020
  20. HomeBody

    HomeBody Member Full Member

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    Woodpeckers are about the only bird around here I see pecking trees. Yellow bellied sapsuckers peck holes in nice neat horizontal rows like the maple log above. They are after sap. Other woodpeckers are more random and are after bugs. I have lots of walnut and all I've ever noticed is bug holes. I'll have to look again closer. Gary
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2014
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