A woodpecker has taken up residence in the World's Largest Hockey Stick at the Cowichan Community Centre. (Photo courtesy Lorraine Francisty)

Woodpecker makes its home in Cowichan’s Big Stick

Bird first spotted last week; community centre working to remove it

A pesky woodpecker — or two, by some witness accounts — has made its home in the World’s Largest Hockey Stick.

The woodpecker, identified as a northern flicker, recently drilled a hole in the blade of the stick, just above the tape.

Cowichan Community Centre facilities operation manager Brad Coleman said on Wednesday that he first heard reports of the woodpecker last week. Staff looked into the situation, and, lacking a lift that would get anyone high enough, they used a pole to stuff steel wool into the hole. That appeared to do the trick for a few days, but the bird was back early this week.

“It seemed to work for the weekend, but it’s definitely back,” Coleman said.

Coleman has now arranged for a bucket truck to come by next week to cover the hole with tin.

“Fortunately, the hole is right at the edge of the roofing that looks like tape on the stick,” Coleman related. “If the tin works, we’ll look at wrapping it a little father with tape.”

Built of Douglas fir for Expo 86 in Vancouver, the 62.48-metre stick was moved to North Cowichan and has stood at the Cowichan Community Centre since 1988. This is the first incident involving a woodpecker that Coleman is aware of.

“We had bugs at one time, but we took care of that when we refinished it,” Coleman said. “But we’ve never had birds that I know of.”

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The World's Biggest Hockey Stick at the Cowichan Community Centre is now home to a woodpecker. (File photo)

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