Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Interaction between two male Hairy Woodpeckers

Hairy Woodpecker Picoides villosus

    Tonight my wife and I observed a suite of behaviour in two male Hairy Woodpeckers I don't recall ever having witnessed before, and I am at a loss to know whether the interaction was social or aggressive. When we first saw the two birds they were on the ground facing each other with beaks pointed obliquely, and they engaged in spasmodic displays. One of them broke away and flew to the trunk of a nearby tree. The second bird promptly followed him and they resumed their face-to-face "standoff." This whole sequence continued for several minutes, but at no time did we note any overt aggression.
    We are unsure as to the purpose of this behaviour but it was certainly interesting to watch.                         

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