Juvenile Downy Woodpeckers – Male and Female Feeding

On a warm, sunny, clear May morning, there were baby birds everywhere. Young Bluebirds, Cardinals, Chickadees, Titmice, and probably young Blue-gray Gnatcatchers – though they move so quickly I haven’t seen the juveniles yet, but hear them – all are shivering their wings and begging to be fed in persistent high-pitched voices.

A young male Downy Woodpecker came to a hanging block of birdseed this morning with a male parent. The juvenile looked similar to the adult, except that its crown was soft brown, with a smudge of red near the forehead. The young male sat on top of the block of seed, looked around, and waited to be fed. The adult male clung to the side of the block and pecked, and fed the youngster repeatedly for several minutes, until both flew away.

About 15 minutes later, the adult male Downy Woodpecker (I’m assuming it’s the same one) returned to the feeder, this time with a juvenile female Downy Woodpecker. The crown of her head was entirely soft brown, with no red. Unlike the young male, she clung to the side of the block of seeds and pecked at it herself and seemed to be eating. The adult male fed beside her, on the edge of the block, and occasionally offered her some food, which she accepted with a twitter of sound similar to all baby birds, then went back to pecking for herself.

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