Hairy Woodpeckers are cavity nesters. Both sexes excavate a cavity in live wood. From 3
to 6 eggs are incubated by both parents. Males brood the eggs at night, and females during
the day. Eggs hatch in about two weeks, and young birds leave the cavity in about a month.
Young birds will accompany adults for the first two weeks or so before they become
According to records at the Bird Banding Laboratory in Laurel, MD, a total of 24,458
Hairy Woodpeckers have been banded since 1955. Of these, 902 have been recovered, a
recovery rate of 3.68%. Hairy Woodpeckers are resident birds, but northern populations
some wandering in winter months.
If you should recover a banded bird, please report the band number to the Bird Banding
Lab by calling 1-800-327-BAND.
Populations of Hairy Woodpeckers are holding steady and increasing in some areas. These
birds suffer when they have to compete with House Sparrows and European Starlings for nest
cavities. Protection of dense forests and retaining trees suitable for nest cavities will
no doubt help these birds to maintain their population levels.
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