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.