Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Backyard Woodpeckers Back Again

Last year we had a pair of Hairy Woodpeckers nest in our ornamental crabapple tree just outside the dining room window. We were able to watch the male excavate the cavity, leaving a pile of sawdust on the ground below the tree. The entrance to the cavity is only about 3 feet above the ground and faces the house so we were able to listed to the youngsters as they grew and finally, just before they fledged, we were able to see them when they started to appear at the hole to be fed. This link will take you to all the posts and photos from last years attempt (just ignore the posts that show up in this search that don't have anything to do with Hairy Woodpeckers!)

Within the last week or so a pair of Hairy's have been casually inspecting the hole on an infrequent basis, but this evening I noticed the male spending quite a bit of time in the cavity, occasionally emerging to dump a load of sawdust on the ground. The female has been hovering around the area and occasionally she would come down to the cavity and check things out. According to the Birds of North America (Jackson et al, 2002) account there is no data on nest maintenance or re-use. Perhaps I will be able to add some information to fill in that gap.
Hopefully we will again have the pleasure to watch another brood of Hairy Woodpeckers grow up in our backyard.

Jackson, Jerome A., Henri R. Ouellet and Bette J. Jackson. 2002. Hairy Woodpecker (Picoides villosus), The Birds of North America Online (A. Poole, Ed.). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; Retrieved from the Birds of North America Online.

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