SOLC Day 17: We’re Expecting!

March 2021 SOLC–Day 17
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“There’s a woodpecker nesting in the tree above my office,” Kurt announced as he walked in. “I’ve seen it a bunch and it’s out there right now.”

“Really?! What kind?”

I think he answered me, but I’m not sure, as I’d already rushed outdoors, grabbing my camera as I went. I scanned the cluster of trees near his office, my eyes running swiftly up and down each tree trunk.

Where was it?

Was it there?

Or maybe there?

Yes! Yes! Sure enough, there it was! A red-bellied woodpecker!

Aren’t they gorgeous? That beautiful red head and black and white barred back is such a stunning combination. They actually have a faint blush of red on their bellies (Can you see it?), hence their name. (You’d think they should be called a red-headed woodpecker, but if you look those up, you’ll see why that name was already taken.)

Red-bellieds are one of my favorites and we’re lucky enough to see them regularly. Two summers ago we had a family of them visiting the feeders almost everyday. I was frequently drawn to the window to watch the parents forage at the suet feeder and bring chunks back to the three loudly-impatient babies who waited on an adjacent branch. Then they’d all swoop back off toward the trees. I never could determine which nesting cavity their tree was in, though I knew approximately where it was and I’d searched.

This past fall and winter we lost a lot of old trees during windstorms. Many of them clearly had been used for nesting cavity birds. We’d still seen the red-bellieds throughout the winter, but I’d been a little worried that they might move farther afield during nesting season. So, was this the bird Kurt had been seeing, or was it just visiting? Soon enough I had my answer.

I settled in to watch this one hard at work. Over and over he pushed his head deep into the trunk and pulled out bits and pieces of wood. (You can see some in his beak in the last photo.) He was at it for quite some time!

Since then, I’ve been doing some research and it sounds like the male excavates the nesting cavity and then tries to entice the female. Oh, I do hope he’s successful! The nesting cavity is easily visible from the driveway and I’m already anticipating happy hours watching the family grow and taking photos along the way!

So, if all goes well, we’re expecting…baby woodpeckers!

22 thoughts on “SOLC Day 17: We’re Expecting!

  1. dogtrax says:

    Wow. Yes, beautiful. And what great photos!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I especially love watching the baby bird learn to fly. We always scour the yard in the spring hoping for some nests to peer into as we pass.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      I’m always worried about the other nesters because of our outside cats, so I won’t put up nesting boxes. I’m thrilled with a way-up-the-tree nesting cavity and a front-seat view.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Bird watching is so fascinating and you beautifully captured these amazing creatures! I do hope you get to watch it all happen this spring! Enjoy and thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Tim Gels says:

    What a great slice! I love learning as I’m reading what other people have going on in their lives. Expecting! There’s so much to do: the nursery has to be prepared and the mate has to be wooed. 🙂

    I love your parenthetical, “but if you look those up, you’ll see why that name was already taken,” because I did just that years ago.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. haitiruth says:

    Yay! So exciting!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Leigh Anne Eck says:

    Yes, they are gorgeous! And to think you will have a front-row-driveway seat! I can’t wait to see the pictures.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Do I ever have bird-feeder frenzy envy for your popular feeding trough. We are the Motel Six of bird feeders with the occasional homeless avian stumbling to our nearly pristine, from a lack of use, feeders. That said, our big time pileated wood pecker has come to take no prisoners on our front storm damaged pine. He provides enough kindling to start a fire pit fire. Pictures to follow by text. Do you know how to add pictures to my comments to your blog?

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      Pileateds are amazing! I’ve seen them inflict some major damage on trees and telephone poles. How fun that you get to watch one in action! I use a lot of different foods at my feeders, but the biggest change was when I switched to black oil sunflower seeds from mixed bird food. Since then I’ve also added a fruit and nut mix, suet, mealworms and sometimes peanuts and different kinds of feeders. Platform feeders are the best! (Also, I have no idea how you can add photos to my blog–I suspect you can’t.)

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Cheryl Ferris says:

    You will be lucky to watch this unfold but I’m sure we’ll be lucky to see your photos from it! Cheryl

    Liked by 1 person

  9. margaretsmn says:

    You are watching woodpeckers while I am watching wood ducks. Perhaps you will write a woodpecker diary? Love your photos. Amazing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      I thought of you and your wood ducks when I was writing this. I’ve been a bit jealous and trying to just feel joyful for you–but it didn’t always work. I’m happy I have woodpeckers to entertain me now–here’s hoping he finds a mate!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. kd0602 says:

    Incredible shots of gorgeous birds! I hope you get the nesting and the babies! I look forward to the photos!


    Liked by 1 person

  11. Great photos, what a pretty, pretty bird, so striking. Will be looking forward to hearing if babies come…!

    Liked by 1 person

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