Friday, April 11, 2014

Downy Woodpeckers Begin Making Nest Cavity

 The Downy Woodpeckers at Springbrook Nature Center have started excavating their nest cavities in some of the dead trees in Springbrook's woods. 

This male approaches the nest hole he has been working on. 

These woodpeckers are shy and do not like me stopping to photograph them, even though I am standing on one of Springbrook's trails while taking this picture.
 Both the male and the female have been captured and banded in the past by Springbrook's bird banding program.  The band is visible on their right leg.

The male here is about to begin another work session where he uses his beak to break out small pieces of wood to shape the cavity the correct size and depth.

I would need lots of tools and rulers to make this, but he does it all by "eye."

Here he is at work.  He seems to just be getting started, as he is not going in very far.

The female is always close by, as can be seen below.
The female does not have the red on the back of her head, but otherwise looks just like the male.

Her leg band is very visible here.

She seems to be casually looking for food in the bark of the tree as she watches the male working on the cavity.

I was surprised to hear her "drumming," which is the way woodpeckers declare their territory areas.  I had thought only the males did this.
Here she is "drumming."  Her head is a blur but her feet are still as she hammers on the dead tree.

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