About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Woodpeckers dancing and other spring things

http://lansingwbu.blogspot.com/2016/04/calling-for-old-sam-peabody.htmlI've finally seen my White-throated sparrows. I say finally even though they are a couple weeks earlier than last year. White-throats usually follow the spring thaw. Once I see them I declare there will be no more frost.

The mild winter/early spring has brought many early visitors to my garden bird feeders and many more are still to come. Make sure your suet and seed feeders are clean and well stocked as well as keeping your bird bath clean and filled with fresh water.

Sometimes it is hard to keep the suet feeder full in the spring with new birds arriving before all the bugs pop. But yesterday I saw a pair of Downy Woodpeckers dancing! Downys live year-round in the same territory. They get a head start on courtship with drumming on trees as early as February to claim a nesting area and attract a mate. Their normal tap, tap, tap becomes a quite different unbroken trrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr, lasting several seconds. Both male and female woodpeckers drum. If they were successful nesting the year before they reacquaint themselves quickly for another season.

After the drumming has united the pair, the actual courtship dance begins. This is what I was watching last night at the suet feeder. The boy puffed up his red patch behind his head and began weaving back and forth in front of the female with his bill pointing up. There was also a lot of flitting and chasing from one perch to another, and more waving and weaving of head and body. There was also a lot of excited chattering involved.

By the end of June I hope to see their babies at the feeders!

Related Articles:
- What’s the best suet for Michigan wild birds? http://bit.ly/rxU9cu
- What birds eat suet? http://bit.ly/q2Sfje
- How do I Attract Woodpeckers? http://bit.ly/o4CLqI
- Filling Up on Fatty Foods: http://bit.ly/ob0NIq
- Michigan made suet feeders: http://bit.ly/rbKskX

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