Foraging woodpeckers, nest fit tests, and sticky square dancing…it must be time for NestFlix! The Norths and their neighbors have gotten a lot to admire this week as they work and forage in the unusually warm weather. Enjoy it now, everybirdy – I believe winter is supposed to return next week!
January 30, 2024: North Nest fit test – https://youtu.be/K6TsC2ll2XM?si=NewAeBbcmr9CY6qv. Is the nestbowl ready for eggs? Mr. North does some testing and fine-tuning to make sure everything is just right! Smaller males seem to do more testing than larger females, perhaps to make sure their smaller bodies can seal in heat.
Speaking of eggs, we are just a little over two weeks from our estimated lay date and Mr. North and DNF have been ramping copulation. Our camera operators counted copulations two today (so far). We’ll see and/or hear as many as nine per day once DNF enters peak fertility.
January 29, 2024: The Norths do some nest work together – https://youtu.be/SVjZ9uuGAIw?si=nX0N7rRoUERSF0MZ. The video opens with Mr. North standing in the nestbowl, which is filled with cornhusks and soft, fluffy grass. DNF flies in with a stick at 55 seconds – can’t forget those crib rails! – and the two go ’round as the sticky square dance begins! Mr. North emerges the victor and places the stick where he knows it should go. Look for a little eagle hide and seek at 2:11. Look for body brushing and mutual nestorations as the two build their nest and their bond together.
January 29, 2024: Red-bellied Woodpecker is back, Mr. North arrives quickly – https://youtu.be/gScBzY0koY8?si=iQCi8IFzapBoTuD-. A handsome male red-bellied woodpecker forages for scraps, his vivid vermillion nape glowing in the warm sunshine. At 55 seconds, he dips down and comes with a large scrap of skin in his beak. He flies out before Mr. North arrives at 1:13. Look for wonderful close-ups starting at 2:02 and at least one nice shot of Mr.’s nictitating membrane at 6:04.
Birdchick suggested years ago that the Red-bellied Woodpecker be renamed the Vermillion-naped Woodpecker to reflect its most visible field mark. I couldn’t agree more! While females also have a vivid vermillion nape, they lack the male’s red crown, making the two sexes (relatively) easy to tell apart.
One of our Facebook followers asked about Ivory-billed Woodpeckers following a video of a Pileated Woodpecker we published earlier. They were even larger than Pileated Woodpeckers – the so-called ‘Lord God’ bird because that was what you said when you saw one – and had a larger bill. More here: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Ivory-billed_Woodpecker/overview.
Odds and Ends
A new camera that simulates bird color vision? Sign me up! https://newatlas.com/bird-vision-camera/58177/. But I’m skipping the Swarovski smart binoculars until they drop in price, altohugh the technology is very cool! https://www.theverge.com/2024/1/10/24032871/ai-binoculars-swarovski-optic-ax-visio-ces-price-release-date