Suppose our laws are changed so a man can’t cruise for a date before building a house…
When it’s all done outside but unfinished inside, he stands out front and knocks on the door until a likely looking female drives by.
Now suppose you’re the woman. If you like the house and guy, you knock on the door too. And if he fancies you too, he plays a kind of conga-duet with you.
Now you’re officially a couple. Then you go in, check out the house and start ordering paint chips, appliances, carpets, switch plates—the works. Only then can you get married and, well, you know…
And that’s the Facts of Life for Red-Bellied Woodpeckers!
The male finds a likely looking tree, excavates a cavity, and starts drumming below the cavity, announcing to every female in the area that he’s eligible. The female tells him she’s interested by drumming in tandem with him, and only then do they finish excavating and lining the nest, leaving a lovely, soft cushion of wood chips at the bottom for their chicks to be.
Just a few days ago, I saw the female Red-Bellied Woodpecker in our featured photo, perched on the branch of a large white pine.
On the same day, I then saw the male shown below, on the same branch of the same tree!
I haven’t yet seen any juvenile Red-Bellies, but when I do, you know where I’ll post the photographs.