Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Pileated Woodpecker Nest

Had the pleasure to observe a Pileated Woodpecker nest cavity today. I am always amazed when they appear.   The  color and patterns, the size and the raucous vocalization.  This nest was reported to have two chicks, but all observations indicate one chick had already left the nest.  The remaining chick was very active at the cavity, seeming to be  hungry and frustrated that the adults would not come to him.

I did not expect the chick to be capable of adult calls, but it was pretty loud at times. The adults came in a few times, seeming to tempt the chick to come to them.  I've seen this in House Wrens when it is time to fledge.  The chicks have been conditioned to the adults singing before entering the nest box.  At fledging time, the adults repeat the song but from a nearby tree until the young come to them. 

This calling from nearly continued, and finally an adult flew to the nest.

What a beautiful plumage. The chick got some food, not as much as had been normally observed and the adult retreated to a side of the tree.

The adult soon left the chick to consider the options and the vocalization continued from a distance.

I had planned to return to this nest in two days, but I think the nest will be empty tomorrow.

All images used Nikon D800, 400 mm f/2.8 lens with 1.4 multiplier. ISO 2000 to 6400.

Paul Schmitt

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