THE WOODPECKER SAGA: TWO HAPPY ENDINGS


GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKERS, LONDONWoodpecker 5.13-9

The babies have flown! On Friday morning, the sound from the tree was a cacophony, with both parents appearing to urge their kids to leave home. By the time Mrs Harbour got back from work in the evening, they were gone. The nest was empty, and there was silence. So we never said goodbye, but we can say “good luck”.

WEST INDIAN WOODPECKERS, ABACO

During the week, the babies have appeared with increasing bravery at the nest-hole West Indian Woodpecker a

Feeding no longer involved a parent diving into the box with bugs, but feeding at the entranceWest Indian Woodpecker 2

The heads began to stick out further…West Indian Woodpecker 3

…and the parents’ job got easierWest Indian Woodpecker 4

At 6.47 a.m. this morning, the first fledgling took flight, first to the roof, then to a tree. He’ll hang around for a couple of days, being fed less and less until he can stand on his own two feet. Fly on his own two wings, even. Meanwhile his parents are getting on with their next stage of family planning. They are spending increasing time in and around the second nest box, and – there’s not getting around it – copulating in public. The results will be their third family of the season.

So all is well in woodpecker land. I’ll finish the story with a photo taken by Tom Sheley, a wildlife photographer from Ohio, and his magnificent image taken a couple of days ago. Imagine being a chick expecting a tasty bug and getting one this size rammed down your throat…

West Indian Woodpecker TS

LATER Here’s a very short mobile phone video of a young squawker peering out at the wide world. I have better camera ones in another format, but for some reason WordPress is only accepting .MOV files at the moment…

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2 thoughts on “THE WOODPECKER SAGA: TWO HAPPY ENDINGS

    • Hi Amelia, just back in UK. The 3 West Indian W/P chicks flew last Sunday morning, the last one teetering on the edge of the nest for a long time, retreating back into the box occasionally while the parents fussed around encouraging it. Eventually it launched itself. They all hung around asking to be fed, but that gradually became less insistent. I didn’t see them at all on Tuesday before I left…

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