Aaaaaah! Woodpecker nest!

By April 11, 2010 Birds, My Garden 2 Comments

Went out this morning and saw that the dead snag in the front–the same one that the pileated woodpecker was poking at earlier–was occupied by a red-bellied woodpecker. No great surprise there, they’re not uncommon around here. But then the woodpecker flipped its tail up and vanished into an unseen hole in the trunk.

I stared.

I was walking down the drive to try and find a spot with a view of this hole, and a second red-bellied woodpecker flew in and ducked into the hole.

Well, even someone as dense as I am knows what that means. The snag is so narrow at that point that it astounds me they can fit in there–but apparently they can. We have a woodpecker nest! Eeeeee!

I have been putting up birdhouses for two years, and to date have exactly nothing to show for it. Not even the Carolina wrens have been interested, and when I lived in the old duplex, they nested in our barbecue and a cardboard box on my potting bench. They will nest in clothes on a clothesline, and hats left out on a railing–but they are uninterested in anything so gauche as my birdboxes.  (The bluebirds came, looked at the bluebird box, and decided it was a too tree-ridden area. Which is fair.)

I do not delude myself that my meagre efforts have done anything to make this a more attractive spot for woodpeckers–it was Kevin’s benign neglect of the wooded area that made it prime woodpecker habitat. My suet feeder is about the only woodpecker friendly addition, and I’ve never seen one of them on it. (Actually, there’s hardly anything but mourning doves on the feeders these last few weeks–guessing that everybody’s in nesting mode and more interested in the crop of spring bugs.) And a little reading would indicate that red-bellied woodpeckers are one of the relatively few species of birds in North America that are actually increasing in numbers as they spread their range north–a consumate garden and suburb dweller, the red-bellied is not a terribly picky nester.

But with all that said, I’m excited! Eeeee! Red-bellied woodpecker nest!


  • Christine says:

    That is very exciting! There’s a woodpecker who must live near the library where I work, because when I’m doing stuff at the desk I can always see him/her checking the trees for snacks. I have no idea what kind… not much of a birder am I? Based on some rigorous googling I think it’s a Downy woodpecker. Very pretty, whoever it is!

  • Kyool! Thnx for the reminder of what dead trees are good for. Sadly, with the Emerald Ash Borer in full swing, we have a lot of them up in Michigan.