HUNGRY MOUTHS TO FEED: WEST INDIAN WOODPECKER CHICKS
West Indian Woodpeckers are special. So special that Abaco even has its own subspecies Melanerpes superciliaris blakei. They are joyful and noisy. They noisily share parenting duties in an admirably modern way. And did I mention they are noisy?
The parents set up home together, with both partners taking their turns to choose the furnishings and fit out the nest. They share duties on the nest once the eggs have hatched. And they take turns to feed the nestlings as they grow into increasingly hungry and raucous fledglings.
This feeding sequence was taken by Rhonda Pearce whose ravenous chick in the header photo is one of the best I have come across. I have never managed to get such a clear shot of desperate chick hunger…
Here’s how a nest can sound when the chicks are young – a weird sort of insistent purring sound. As the chicks get larger – and more competitive – so the volume level increases.
Get this down your throat, you pesky little rascal…
Credits: all photos, Rhonda Pearce; audio recording RH @ Delphi Club nesting boxes