LIFE'S BETTER IN THE MOUNTAINS

Monday, June 8, 2015

Woodpecker Fledgling


Our woods are home to several types of woodpeckers.  We have at least two pairs of Red-bellied Woodpeckers coming to our feeders.  They have predictable patterns that signal that they have fledglings.

First is the parent loading its mouth with suet and flying swiftly away.  We think this is food for a bird in the nesting cavity.  Later we see the parent taking the food into the woods.  Occasionally we glimpse the offspring in a distant tree.  As time progresses, the woodpeckers bring the little ones closer and closer to the house.  And that is when we finally see the little birds and occasionally are treated to a feeding.  Unlike the parents, who have red heads, the head of the fledgling is gray at first.  As the season progresses, the gray begins to turn more and more red.


The fledgling sits patiently while the parent gets some suet




 Note the color contrast between the parent on the left and the fledgling on the right.
The fledgling's gray color and stripes blend in well with the tree trunks.


We feel very lucky to be able to watch the little woodpeckers as they become more and more independent.  Finally, one day the parent will go to the suet and fly into the woods, leaving the little one confused.  It finally occurs to them that the free meals are over and if they want suet they will have to fly to the feeder to get it.  Their early attempts are rather humorous, much like a human baby taking those first wobbly steps.


12 comments:

Carolina Linthead said...

I love them! Reminds me that I need to buy more suet cakes...

robin andrea said...

These are such great photos! How wonderful to be able to watch these beautiful birds grow up and learn how survive on their own. Fantastic!

Barbara Rogers said...

Thanks for sharing such great photos of the changing life of your woodpeckers. Love them!

Lowcarb team member said...

Amazing to see how well 'The fledgling's gray color and stripes blend in well with the tree trunks.'

Isn't nature great

All the best Jan

troutbirder said...

I've seen this show at our suet feeders too and it so much fun....:)

Ms. A said...

Must be fun to be able to watch the antics and growth progression!

Cheryl said...

Beautiful images ...........such an honour to watch them feed, and raise a family.

The Bug said...

Aww so sweet!

Mary Lee said...

Oh, I do love your birding lessons! We have a similar family at our suet feeders. I have no idea where the nest is though. No woods around here.

KB Bear said...

I love your description of the parents and the fledglings. I see similar things with our Hairy Woodpeckers. Watching the young ones try to land on the suet is quite amusing!

Vicki Lane said...

Wonderful pictures and descriptions. We have red-bellieds too, but they nest ( I think) .good ways from the house

NCmountainwoman said...

Thanks for your comments, everyone. We feel very fortunate to be able to watch so many birds as they grow.