Red Bellied Woodpecker Nesting

by Sue
(near Kentucky Lake)

Aug. 2013... We have had these beautiful Red Bellied Woodpeckers at our feeders for a number of years along with the occasional yearly visit of Downey, Hairy and Red-Headed Woodpeckers. Located in Western Kentucky near Kentucky Lake & Dam, we keep a mixed songbird food with lots of Black Oil Sunflower seeds in our feeders. This year we added a feeder with Peanut Suet Nuggets for a nesting Bluebird family. Of course the woodpeckers loved it, too!


This year is the first year I have identified a female Red Bellied. Knowing we must have a pair, was exciting. We have half of our property in woods so plenty of opportunities for them. Today I saw something remarkable. The male was at the feeder and then jumped to the ground. Then he flew up and landed on the utility pole in our yard holding something in his beak. I couldn't figure out what he was doing, but saw him continue to hop around the pole all the way to the top. To my surprise when he reached the top, the head of the female poked out from the support at the top and took the contents from the male's beak! Looks like they are nesting to me.

Up until today, I was only aware that the woodpeckers nested in tree cavities until reading the information on this site. Having witnessed this today, I can say they do nest on/in utility poles. Being concerned for their safety, I hope to add a proper nesting box for them for next year! I'll also be watching the top of the pole with binoculars to see if this nest is successful.

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