130/365 – Feeding Changeover

The great spotted woodpeckers eggs have hatched and the feeding duties have begun. The parents are in and out every few minutes which can lead to some traffic backing up. When each parent lands on the tree they let out a call to notify the other that they need to get in and then they wait for the other to emerge.

Great spotted woodpeckers at nest hole

The male exits while the female waits to go into the nest to feed the chicks

More Drama than the BBC

An early morning start to hopefully watch the woodpeckers fledge ended up being an emotional roller coaster!

As I arrived I noticed one young woodpecker clinging to the tree near the nest hole and the other squawking from the hole at the top of his lungs. The parents flew in and fed both before I was distracted by a real commotion further down the path with numerous birds mobbing a tawny owl. As I’d never photographed one before I seized the opportunity.

1c

 When the owl had finally had enough of the attention it was getting and flew away I returned to the woodpeckers and noticed the one that had been out of the nest had disappeared. After scouting around the tree I realised it had fallen and was on the ground by the path. As the wood is a popular dog walking area I couldn’t leave it where it was so picked it up and let it grab back onto the trunk hoping it would make its way back up. However it fell off again and after contacting a friend for advice placed it in a tree close by, hopefully to be soon spotted by its parents.

_X0A3859

I decided it was probably best to leave them alone and went off to see if the nuthatches were still in residence. The parents were busy flying in to feed but it was obvious the chicks would soon be on their way as they constantly popped their heads out to look around. One decided it was time to venture out but quickly changed its mind either deterred by the chilly wind or the sight of me!

_X0A4176

The bluetits were busy feeding and had a lucky escape when the male woodpecker had a go at grabbing a chick, but the location of the nest down in the knot of the tree seemed to be enough to stop it.

Close by a great tit was busy collecting material for a nest probably for its second brood of the year.

_X0A4000

As I set off to leave I thought I’d check on the woodpecker chick to see if it was OK and my heart sank as I approached and saw it grabbed by a crow!!

A morning of drama, emotion, joy and heartbreak. Who needs Game of Thrones!

A Punk Pirate

It hasn’t taken long at all for the woodpecker chick(s) to start peering out at the world. The parents have been in and out constantly with 35 visits with beaks full of food in just an hour. Imagine preparing a meal every two minutes for your kids!!

The male seemed keen to lure this youngster out with what looked like a dead chick stolen from another birds nest.

_X0A2964

The chick wasn’t too keen and was firmly staying put however tempting the offering. The female however was still pushing into the nest to clear up the faecal sacks which suggests there’s more than one in the nest hole.

_X0A3050_X0A3063

I don’t think they’ll be around much longer so I hope the forecast rain stays away as it would be nice to see them fledge in the sunlight.

Back in Black (and red)

Last year I watched a pair of Great Spotted Woodpeckers raising their chicks in my local wood. I’ve been going back over the last couple of weeks and spotted they were back and using the same nest hole. Both parents were flying in and out with food for the young. Looking at the type of food they were taking in I’m guessing the young are still very small as all the morsels were tiny. Over time as the young grow the size of the food increases, last year I saw other birds plundered chicks being offered.

_X0A9717_X0A9696

It won’t be long till the young woodpeckers will be poking their heads out and shouting for more food. Hopefully this year I’ll see them fledge.