Friday, February 17, 2012
In fall and early winter, male and female downies maintain separate territories. Each bird excavates its own roost. In late winter, each member of a pair selects its own drumming post and the drumming duets begin. Over the next several months, the mates will increasingly synchronize their activities. After beginning several excavations, the pair will finally agree on a nest site in dead wood twelve to thirty feet above ground. Both sexes excavate the cavity, which is usually camouflaged by surrounding lichen or moss. The four to five eggs hatch in about twelve days. Both adults incubate and later brood and feed the nestlings. The male may do most of the brooding. The young leave the nest at about three weeks of age and remain near their parents for around three more weeks. In winter, adults and juveniles often forage with other small birds.
Fifty Common Birds of the Upper Midwest, watercolors by Dana Gardner, text by Nancy Overcott