Knock, Knock. Who’s There?

Earlier this week I was enjoying some afternoon sun during my lunchtime walk when I heard the knocking of a woodpecker on a tree. The funny thing was that I couldn’t find the bird that was the source of the sound. I have to admit that I was perplexed. I could see plenty of signs that a woodpecker(s) had been busy on a dead maple beside the road but no woodpecker in view on any side of the tree.

Out of the corner of my eye I noticed movement in a small round hole in the tree …

Hairy Woodpecker (Picoides villosus)
A Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens) peeking out of a hole in a dead maple tree.

I’m not sure why this male Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens) was excavating a hole in this tree this late in the year but I’m glad I found him. It will be interesting to see if he continues to work on the nest over the course of the winter. A little too early for breeding, so perhaps it’s for shelter?