One of the best ways to determine if Red-bellied Woodpeckers have chosen to nest nearby is the presence of their persistent and distinctive “kwirr” call. It is given most often now, during the breeding season, when males try to attract a mate to their roost cavity or a partially completed excavation by calling to them. Drumming and soft taps are also performed by males as part of the courtship ritual.
When attracted, the female flies to the male and indicates her acceptance of his cavity by perching beside him while they both engage in tapping behavior. If the cavity is partially completed, the mutual tapping behavior also appears to stimulate the female to help the male finish excavating the cavity. (Photo: male Red-bellied Woodpecker at nest hole; inset: male (left) and female (right) tapping at nest hole.)
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