Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Departure Day- American Robin & Pileated Woodpeckers

Pileated woodpeckers have a long, thick tongue for licking up the insects that flee from the holes they hammer out. In the top and bottom left photos, the red cheek stripe of the male is evident.
I had speculated that the young Pileated woodpeckers were about to leave the nest and I was correct. When last I saw them, they were doing a little practice drumming on the rim of the hole, as you can see in the bottom right photo. The little girl has her tongue out on the edge to lick up any insects which may have come out after she banged on the wood. Of course, this was just practice as little to nothing lives in a chemically treated telephone pole. They were also calling a watered down version of the classic "Kee-kee-kee-kuk-kuk" and a rasping hiss which was more childlike sounding to me. Their nest cavity was on Hermit Island where all the campsites are (I can tell you that now that it is no longer a nest cavity but just an empty hole). The wee woodpeckers will stay with their parents all summer learning to find food. They will be hungry, but not efficient at finding eats. So, they will be pounding a lot more holes than the adults need to. The campers will hear them knocking with what sounds like a hammer drumming on wood all summer starting early in the morning. "Knock-knock-knock-knock! Get up!" They left the nest cavity sometime around lunchtime yesterday.

At our house, across Small Point Harbor from where that action was taking place, an American robin couple had a nest in the Baltic ivy on the side of our house by the front door. For about a month, I had been watching the parents slipping in and out of the ivy until I could identify where the nest was. One day, they picked up their pace and were energetically carrying food with them. I knew they had gone from sitting on eggs to feeding chicks. In a few days, I could hear the little rascals, too. I had expected that any day now, there would be silence because they, too would be leaving home. And sure enough! I heard this tremendous racket of alarm calling out in the yard. I grabbed the camera and went to investigate. Our dog, Perry was sitting on the lawn looking at this young robin. He had not touched it, but the parents were raising the roof yelling at him and swooping around him. He seemed quite confused and uncertain about all the noise. He is a Shiba inu. They were bred to flush birds from bushes, but I don't imagine that he would ever have been very good at that. He was curious about the little bird, but not in a 'lunch menu' sort of way. I took him into the house, then went back to watch the little one. Sure enough, he was able to fly a few feet on his own. Very much the dawdler, he took his time hopping and flying toward the garden. He disappeared and I saw his Dad reunite  with him in the woods. The nest is silent, now. I don't know if he was the only one or if the others managed to slip away undetected. That would certainly be better if they just got up in the middle of the night, packed a light suitcase leaving a note in the kitchen before disappearing.

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  1. Lovely little bird, So glad your Shiba Inu didn't make a meal of it.

  2. Great pictures of the woodpecker babies, but only a mother could find them attractive. the robin, on the other hand, is simply precious. Great photos and commentary

  3. Perfect bird photos!!
    Clear, fine colours , good composition, touching. . . . Do you want more :)

    Thank you also stopping by here faraway!
    Have a rewarding weekend!

  4. Thank you, Leena. I like your web site very much. Sunsets are glorious! And sure, keep those compliments coming: I can't get enough!

  5. Great work with the babies, Robin. The Piliateds are sooo cool! And the baby robin looked just like the one I saw as I headed out last evening. He was sitting on the sidewalk and as I walked by, he looked up and opened his mouth wide. I guess mama came back because when I returned, he was gone.