The Rolla Technical Center (RTC) building is finding itself under siege by a unique individual. A single nesting bird who’s been spending his free time drilling holes in their walls. The feathered fiend was first discovered by maintenance staff members Mark Heflin and Tom Duncan, who have been keeping track of the bird’s activities, almost turning it into a mascot for the building, even if it’s a mascot causing problems for them and the rest of the staff.

“In the mornings we would come in and there would be styrofoam dust all around,” said Tom, telling how he and Mark first discovered what was going on. “That’s when we discovered all of the holes in the wall.”

The building itself is comprised of metal studs with a layer of sheeting over them. This is then covered with styrofoam panels. This styrofoam is stuccoed, providing little protection against the avian invader.

There wasn’t any immediate evidence of the bird as the culprit, and the staff and faculty initially attributed the holes to kids throwing rocks. It wasn’t until Mark and Tom did some research on the problem, and photographer Brad Taber stood watch with his camera that they were finally able to prove who was behind the damage to the building. Taber’s pictures show the villian leaving the scene of the crime, with a trail of falling styrofoam leading back to freshly drilled holes, pinning him as the culprit and making him a building-wide celebrity.

The probable cause for the bird’s actions lie in what it’s been finding nestled within the styrofoam. As the bird creates an opening in the wall, it finds collections of larvae, which it considers to be a fine delicacy.

After the bird has cleared out the larvae already living there, he has a ready-made home to spend the evening. And judging by the collection of holes made by, it’s trying to build a subdivision all for himself. Keith McCarthy, the assistant career education director with RTC has been following the situation along with Mark and Tom.

“Mark and Tom have done a great job filling the holes as they open, but right after they fill them, our woodpecker  starts another,” he said. Mark and Tom have been using a spray-type foam to fill the holes made by the woodpecker, but their resistance is met by the culprit’s determination to succeed as he continues to drill more holes in the RTC building.

The issue with the holes may cause further problems as they collect moisture. If the temperature reaches freezing levels, the accumulated moisture will freeze, cause the holes to widen and creating more damage to the building. Keeping up with he bird’s handiwork may be a challenge, but it’s an interesting one.

The culprit has not been given a name by the RTC community, but nearly anyone you meet walking down the halls would be able to tell you about the bird, who’s criminal activities have earned him quite the reputation. Mark and Tom are currently at work keeping the damage to the building at a minimum, and finding a humane way to deal with the feathered freeloader.

As of now the culprit is still at large, and the investigation is ongoing.

(Editor’s note: Though our reporter quoted our sources as referring to this bird as a “woodpecker,” we didn’t have a positive identification. Any guesses from our readers?)