Bird Feeding Tips
Tips on attracting and feeding backyard birds.
The Delightful Downy – Part 2 of 2
If you’ve ever heard woodpeckers drum on your home, you’ll be pleased to know that although it may sound like your house is being chiseled to bits, drumming usually leaves few marks, chipped wood or damage i.e. some incidents can be spectacular, most are never noticed!
Downies remain paired with the same mate for years or even for life. They renew their bond each spring. Many of the duties involved with raising a family are shared between the male and female birds. Although the female selects the nesting site, both male and female help excavate the cavity. Excavation typically takes about two weeks. The female lays four to five pure white eggs, which are incubated by both parents for about 12 days until the young hatch. Hatchlings are then fed insects every few minutes.
Approximately three weeks after they hatch, the young downies are ready to leave the nest. The young male does not yet have the red patch on the back of its head but it may be distinguished from the female by an area of reddish pink over its entire crown. Juvenile plumage is worn until the September molt; afterwards, the first-year birds look just like the adults. Young downies remain with their parents for several weeks.
How can you attract downies to your outdoor area? The easiest way is to offer suet, a favorite food of downies and many other woodpeckers too. By consistently providing suet, black-oil sunflower or peanuts, you’re likely to enjoy this tiny woodpecker all year long.