Nesting Nuttall’s Woodpeckers

May 21, 2021

A pair of Nuttall’s Woodpeckers chose one of the garden’s old elderberry trees to excavate this season’s nesting cavity and we couldn’t be happier!  This cavity will not kill the tree and will become an important part of the garden’s ecosystem. They will not use this hole again, so it will become habitat for other secondary cavity nesting birds like wrens, bluebirds and titmice.

Nuttall’s Woodpeckers, like so many other nesting birds, harvest enormous amounts of insects to feed their young. This pair seems partial to earwigs, crickets and beetle larva, but any arthropod is fair game!.

Adult female Nuttall’s Woodpecker – Dryobates nuttallii
Adult male Nuttall’s Woodpecker – Dryobates nuttallii

Only adult male Nuttall’s Woodpeckers have red on their head, but both male and female nestlings will usually have some red on their head – the male’s red forehead patch being more prominent than the females.

Female nestling being fed by adult male
Male nestling being fed by adult male

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