Friday, February 11, 2011

Hairy Woodpecker Displays 2/10

Two female Hairy Woodpeckers were engaged in an early season territorial/mate "face off", a behavior described as "bill-waving" which usually takes place between birds of the same sex during a "conflict". There is an excellent writeup on this behavior in Donald Stokes' Bird Behavior (volume I) .
I had first heard their calls and noticed the two birds face to face about a 100 feet away and snapped a few digi-bin photos.

A photo through the binocular.

The scenario took place over several minutes so there was plenty of time to get the scope from the car, and take some digi-scope shots for a closer perspective.

The birds would alternate raising their heads ... the right bird...

...then the left...back and forth almost like a game of tennis...

...some wing spreading...

....the left hand bird on "the charge....

...then a retreat....

...its tail fanned a bit...

...and a "frozen" still-pose.
After about 15 minutes the both birds moved on, I am not sure who today's winner was, but likely the drama will continue.

2 comments:

Susan W. said...

Very cool. I've never seen anything like it.

Hilke Breder said...

Tom, excellent post! You solved a mystery for me. I have a couple of photos of a hairy woodpecker raising its head and looking skyward. I puzzled over what it meant, thought maybe begging behavior of a juvenile, but it didn't really fit. I did not see the second woodpecker, probably was hidden by leaves. I have to dig out those photos and take another look.