2020 chicks are here!

This greater spotted woodpecker chick is our first of the 2020 season! We currently have Blue tit & Great Tit chicks too, zooming around the garden loudly shouting for food... In fact, the garden is ringing with the noise from so many chicks..

Woodpecker parenting

Woodpeckers appear to share the parenting duties. Both incubate the eggs, which vary between 2 and 6 per clutch (at 1 to 3 clutches a year!) The eggs take roughly 12 days to hatch. Again both parents will feed chicks in the nest.

When the chicks are ready to leave the nest, at around 3 weeks old, each parent is responsible for a different chick or chicks – a couple of years ago, we saw one male with two to feed!

2020 Woodpecker chick - first of the season!

- YouTube

More Woodpecker info

The adult feeding this chick is a male. You can tell because there is a patch of red on the back of the neck. Chicks have a red top to the head – you can just make out the start of red on this chick. As they grow, the red covers the crown.
Then, as the woodpecker matures, the red patch either slips backwards to the back of the neck if male or disappears if female – the female has no red on the back of the neck at all.

Video notes

This video was taken very much on the fly. I had surfaced late after recording the dawn chorus, and wandered into the kitchen to make a drink. Seeing the woodpeckers as I approached the window, on my bleary stumble for the kettle, froze me in place in case I scared them off...
Stepping carefully back, I collected my camera and eased my way slowly to the window to film this lovely sight!

So, do forgive the shakiness...the tripod was outside. I was pleased I’d managed to spot them without scaring them off and very lucky to be focused at all before my first cuppa! :)  I challenge anyone to wake up & focus that quickly after a late night working & not enough sleep…

Due to filming inside the only sounds were the whirring of my camera & the fridge burbling in the back ground, so I removed the distracting audio.

You can find more videos from my garden on the UK Nature Gifts YouTube channel. I’m uploading one or two videos weekly to this platform, usually on a Monday or Tuesday.