Red-bellied Woodpeckers work together to select the nest site and excavate the nest, as well as incubate the eggs and feed the chicks even up to 10 weeks after they fledge.
Breeding pairs begin forming any time between early winter and late spring, and nesting begins in March and April. Nests are usually excavated in dead trees or the dead limbs of live trees. Red-bellied Woodpeckers have a unique ritual of testing the nest site by having one member of the pair tapping softly on the wood from inside a cavity, and the other tapping back from the outside. Once secure, the female lays one egg a day for four days. The eggs are smooth, oval, and glossy white. Both parents incubate the eggs, which hatch after about 12 days.
egg teeth to peck through the eggshell. About six days after hatching, the baby woodpeckers' eyes begin to open and claws and flight feathers appear. On the tenth to twelfth day pin feathers project from skin and on the twenty-first day the young have all of their feathers fluffed and the egg teeth are gone. During this time, both parents bring food to the chicks in the nest. They eat a wide variety of fruits, nuts, seeds, berries as well as ants, flies, grasshoppers, beetle larvae and caterpillars.
They begin to leave the nest a month after hatching, but stay near the tree cavity for a few days. Then the fledglings will follow their parents for a couple months learning how to survive on their own. Toward the end of this period, the adults drive the fledglings away to find their own territory. These young birds won’t be able to breed until the next spring. Meanwhile the parents will stick around but usually don't raise a second brood. Most pairs are only able to raise one brood per season.
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