Monday, July 9, 2012

Downy Woodpecker feeding its brood, Sugar River Forest Preserve

A DOWNY WOODPECKER FAMILY AT WORK

A male Downy Woodpecker feeding a young Downy, Sugar River Forest Preserve; 6/2/2012.
My first trip to Sugar River Forest Preserve rewarded me with an interesting interaction between an adult Downy Woodpecker feeding their young (Above) which were taking turns peeking their heads out of the excavated hole in a tree trunk. I was first attracted to their nest when I heard the constant rattling of the woodpecker nearby.  But it seemed different than when I usually hear Downys. This time the the Woodpecker sound was a constant, unceasing call that seemd a bit higher pitch. So when I looked up I saw a young male Downy peeking its head out of the trunk hole (Below) while the adult was nearby in the tree next to it.  The little guy didn't stop chattering until its parent showed up to give it something to eat.
A young male Downy peeking out of his nest waiting for a meal to show up, Sugar River Forest Preserve; 6/2/2012.

The  male Adult Downy gives the young male Downy a stern look, Sugar River Forest Preserve; 6/2/2012.
Then the father showed up (Above) and silenced the youngun. After it flew away, the chattering started again. I looked up, but this time it was a different young Downy. This one didn't have the red patch on its crown, so I knew it was a young female (Below)...

A young female Downy peeking its head out of her nest waiting for some attention, Sugar River Forest Preserve; 6/2/2012.

The female Adult shows up to deal with her young Downy, Sugar River Forest Preserve; 6/2/2012.
... then the female adult also shows up.

A different male Downy baby? Sugar River Forest Preserve; 6/2/2012.
After a bit, the young male popped his head out again, but upon analyzing it, I believed it was a third juvenal, because its bill looked bent, whereas the other male juvie had a straight bill.  It was cool to see an entire family of Downy Woodpeckers, both adults and probably three of their babies.  I found out from a very good website (Link Below) that most Downy broods will be between 3 -8 eggs, and the youngest (latest to hatch) frequently die.  Also both the male and female take turns caring for the young while they are being fledged.

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