love is in the air

The birds are in major mating mode. Today, two red-bellied woodpeckers called back and forth to each other, exchanging rolling, “churr, churr” calls. Communicating with each other at frequent intervals throughout the day strengthens the pair bond.

Woodpeckers start breeding earlier than most birds. In February, they can be heard “drumming” on resonant tree trunks to attract a mate and send the message to other birds that “this territory is taken!” Occasionally, they will drum on downspouts, gutters, and the sides of houses and can be difficult to discourage, only stopping once they have found a mate.

By now, this pair has drilled a new nest cavity or taken up residence in an unoccupied cavity, and the female is getting ready to lay her eggs. We love having these colorful, vocal birds around and hope they produce another generation of offspring for us to enjoy.

Photo courtesy of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service