It’s was clear that the young great spotted woodpeckers (Dendrocopos major) were growing fast by the increasing volume of their voices. What started as a fairly quiet squeaking, akin to a wheel catching on something as it turned, fast became a loud and incessant ‘Tchick! Tchick! Tchick!’. The parents’ call was similar and mainly distinguished by being outside the nesting hole. Our woodpecker serenade started at first light and only ended when night fell and the woodpecker family at last went to sleep.
As the sound of the young calling to their parents was louder on some occasions than others, I put my chair under the Magnolia tree and settled down to watch. Yes, there it was – the loudest calls were heard when a young woodpecker briefly stuck its head out of the hole to look around. The heads popped in and out so quickly that if you’d blinked, you’d miss it.
All has now gone quiet in the old cherry tree. Without us seeing it, the young woodpeckers have left the nest and dispersed. Where they have gone, I have no idea, but will keep my eyes and ears open. It was early last summer that we first saw juvenile great spotted woodpeckers visiting the hanging peanut feeder, so maybe these young ones will soon discover it. Juvenile great spotted woodpeckers can be easily identified by the red patch on top of the head, as in the above pictures, which fades to black as they grow their adult plumage.