She pokes her head from the hole and glances first right, then left, then right again, clearly looking for a mate who’s been gone too long.
It’s feeding time at this tiny home on the edge of Florida’s Lake Kissimmee, judging from the relay race these Red-bellied Woodpeckers are running. Every few minutes, one returns from foraging to take over nest duties while the other races out the door and flies off.
All over Florida, the first of the breeding species are raising a new generation of chicks. This is one tale best told in pictures, as the birds run a hectic routine familiar to any parent, feathered and otherwise. Here’s the story, and you’ll get the details if you run your cursor over the photos as you go.
Her mate finally shows up, and in a practiced move, lands on the dock piling where they've built their nest.
Then it's his turn to wait. (The red feathers fall just above the eyes, signaling he's the male.)