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Downy Woodpeckers Nest-building

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Downy Woodpeckers are beginning to scout for potential nest sites, preferring the dead stubs of a living or dead tree. Both sexes have been observed selecting the nest site, although females do so more commonly. Just because you see a Downy Woodpecker pecking at a site, however, doesn’t mean it will end up nesting there, as excavation is often started at several sites before one is chosen.

When a potential nest site is decided upon by either sex, it often drums to inform its mate, and its mate often flies to the site and taps or drums in response. It takes about 16 days for both male and female to excavate a cavity. A round entrance hole of roughly 1 ¼” in diameter can make it hard for an egg-bearing female to squeeze into the nest. Egg-laying begins anywhere from one to ten days after the completion of the nest cavity, and three to eight eggs are laid, one per day, usually before 10 a.m.. (Photo: male Downy Woodpecker excavating nesting hole)

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8 responses

  1. Very interesting. Is it also true that other woodpeckers i.e. Pileated, Hairy would make nesting holes before deciding which one they will choose to lay eggs and raise young?

    April 18, 2018 at 9:04 am

    • I have not read or heard of this occurring with any other species of woodpecker, Barbara.

      April 18, 2018 at 10:54 am

  2. Alice Pratt

    Such cute little birds…because of putting beefsuet out, I see them a lot…and Hairy Woodpeckers (who thinks up these bird names?)….. Mary…because so many people read your blog…and become more informed….could you do a post on the following? I was recently talking with my daughter about putting nesting materials outside…she had read that used dryer sheets are very bad and string and threads need to be very short, so as not to get tangled around birds feet…..also pet fur that has been treated with tick and flea meds is bad. Just an idea!

    April 18, 2018 at 9:51 am

  3. Great idea, Alice!!!

    April 18, 2018 at 10:47 am

    • Alice Pratt

      Thank you! Am looking forward to it!

      April 18, 2018 at 12:24 pm

  4. I want to buy books for my grandniece, but ran into a roadblock. Between adding books to my cart and checking out, my cart emptied.

    Sent from my iPhone 7 Plus Brandt Denniston (603)496-5690

    April 18, 2018 at 11:28 am

    • How very frustrating. I will let the publisher know — they gave me the links. My technological know-how is extremely limited. If it happens again, I think I would just order them from Amazon or some other online bookstore (or your nearest independent bookstore).

      April 18, 2018 at 12:09 pm

    • The publisher is on to it! For now, she suggested you call them and place an order: 843 971 6722. Good luck!

      April 18, 2018 at 12:24 pm

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