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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WOODPECKER NEST BOXES: CORRECT & INCORRECT USES


I have left behind in the inner ‘burbs of London one family of woodpeckers, with fledglings almost ready to fly. I’ve immediately exchanged them for a family of West Indian Woodpeckers, at exactly the same stage, in the middle of nowhere. Here are a few comparative images. For some reason my ability to upload sound files of the raucous nestlings being fed is thwarted by a glitch, so I’ll add one in due course. 

TAKE ONE PAIR OF WEST INDIAN WOODPECKERSWIW nesting box 1WIW Nesting Box 4

GIVE THEM A COUPLE OF NEST BOXES TO PREVENT THEM DESTROYING THE ROOFWIW Nesting Box 2

SOONER OR LATER, THEY WILL PRODUCE A FAMILY – OR EVEN TWO IN A SEASONWIW Nesting Box 3

HOWEVER, AN UNUSED NESTBOX IS ATTRACTIVE TO WILD HONEY BEES TOO…WIW Nesting Box 6