Last Thursday, the 7th of June (Kris’ birthday), a dying tree with a nest of woodpeckers fell on my neighbor’s home. The next day the tree cutters, at our request, saved the shank of the tree that was housing those woodpeckers and propped it up against our fence. Now, a little more than a week later, I can announce that each of the three baby woodies has successfully managed his or her way up the shank and begun to explore the world.
Here’s a male Hairy Woodpecker baby on his last day in the hole:
As I read on my back porch this last week, I had plenty of opportunity to watch woodpecker behavior. Here are some observations: first, Mr and Mrs Woodpecker were nonstop feeding machines. Every time one of them arrived for the feeding, the little woodies just let out all kinds of peeps — which increased in intensity over the week.
Second, their noise and proximity to the ground led to routine inspections by chipmunks and sparrows. At one point, I counted five sparrows curious about the woodies and one of them was at the hole acting like it was trying to feed the woodies. The woodies disappeared deep and waited for Mom or Dad.
But there were some threats, mostly because I don’t trust them: both blackbirds and blue jays seemed to take an interest and everytime I saw them I let out a noise to scare them away.
My big treat was watching Baby #1, a male, leave the nest: the mother fed it and then seemed to coax it out of the hole and up the tree shank. Which little woodie did. The little guy got to the top, looked about, and then just flew away into a tree. Never have seen him since, but I do miss him and his little peeping.
Well, mission accomplished. We saved them little woodies and now they’re out and about the neighborhood looking for some tree to whack on.